Our Building Project

forty holy martyrs of sebaste

 

The Roots of the Design of the Antiochian Orthodox Church of The Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste Mission, Sugar Land Texas.
By Christ J. Kamages, AIA.

Our inspiration in the design of the Church design is primarily rooted in the 6th century Byzantine, although there are strong references to the late 4th century Church of the Theotokos in Gerazim Syria are prominent, also the 5th Century complex of Qal’ at Saman located between Aleppo and Antioch, in Northern Syria with it’s Central Octagon and incredible stonework represent a direct inspiration. The 6th century, the age of Justinian manifested the highest expression of innovation and excellence in architectural ecclesiastical design with churches such as Hagia Sophia or known as the “Great Church of the Divine Wisdom”, St. Irene, but more specifically Hagia Sophia and Bachus or “the little Hagia Sophia” in Constantinople and San Vitale of Ravena both edifices were magnificent Byzantine temples, with elegant octagonal plans with Central domes as the crowning proclamation of Heaven on Earth”. The dome as an archeform is emblematic of Eastern Orthodox ecclesiastical architecture, just as the steeple is to Western Church Architecture, and as the Minerat is identified so strongly with Islamic temples.

The exterior extrusion will be a combination of Texas Limestone and Terra Cotta Brick and again anchored in the magnificent 5th Century Antiochian Tradition.

The theology of the dome, is the proclamation of the geometry of the volumetric circle which symbolized heaven eternity, the compassion and inclusiveness of God’s unceasing love and holistic expansiveness. The dome when properly designed is the 360 degree receptacle of light, providing God’s light and illumination to the interior of the Church. God is light, without light, there is no life and the illumination of God’s grace is felt in Orthodox worship both spiritually and physically. The Orthodox worship service and environment combines architecture, iconography, music, incense, and the beautiful liturgical participation of Clergy and laity. This multifaceted combination when properly orchestrated creates an environment that is best described by the words of the emissaries of prince Vadimir of Kiev:

“We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty”.

The interior space of Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste will in be the 6th century tradition. It will have characteristic as in the great 6th century encaustic icon of Christ in the Mount Sinai Monastery of St. George, the unique balance of awesome power and greatness as well as humility and humanity. It is light flooded interior, the layers of space from the great central area with its dome 55’ above the floor to the ambulatory, and perimeter exedras which create a volumetric composition that evokes the mysteries and hope of the great founders of the One Holy Orthodox and Apostolic Church.

As a result of its design roots and geometry, the Church of Forty Holy Martyrs of Sebaste will become a jewel of the South East, a landmark witness to the Orthodox faith in the Metro Community of Houston and that micro-cosim of the “Earthy Heaven” that will become the unforgettable receptacle of liturgical and sacramental memories for her Parishioners for now and for the ages to come.

Christ J. Kamages, AIA

The Support Building - Phase I.

Design

August 2006 - Complete

Phase I consists of the buildings shown above. It is situated to the top right of the temple and church buildings in the first picture on the page. This is the 16,000 square foot support building with space for our temporary worship area, temporary meeting hall, administration office, and Sunday School classrooms.

Temple and Church Buildings - Phase II

This phase should start within about two to five years, God willing. This phase includes the construction of the 9,500 square foot church building and a 1,500 square foot Chapel with Bell Tower, as shown below.



An artist’s impression of the interior of the Church.

Phase III - Banquet Hall.

This is the final phase, and consists of the banquet hall, as shown below. There will be seating capacity for about one thousand people: One hall with a seating capacity of five hundred and two more of two hundred