In time, such motifs found their way onto the walls and doorways of churches, suggesting that the power of these symbols extended beyond the home. Such iconographic evidence lends new insights into sermons that call upon Christians to import church practices into the home. From childrearing to night vigils, the home had the potential to assume - or even replace - devotions typically associated with churches. Efforts to substitute home for church (as in restrictions on women's attendance at vigils or on gatherings in domestic oratories) were doomed, if the repeated efforts to legislate these practices are any indication.

To many Christians, however, neither home nor church was interchangeable. Home was as much a training ground for the church as church was a model for the home. Caesarius of Arles, for instance, instructed his congregants to prepare for mass in the home and city by giving alms, settling disputes, confessing sins, and abstaining from sex before they could approach to take communion (Serm. 14.2; 16.2; 188.6; 229.4). The home, then, was not simply a satellite to church life, but a node where a complex network of churches and shrines intersected. Before we turn to this wider network, it is worth considering the church as a space for Christian self-formation.


In the decades following legalisation, the skyline of many cities changed rapidly, as Constantine launched a vigorous programme of church construction that his successors would continue into the sixth century.10 Modelled on Roman assembly halls of the times, many Christian churches began as longitudinal buildings with a narthex, a nave, and an apse at the opposite end. Within a generation, the plan would assume an even grander scale to include several aisles with colonnades. With some regional variations, that longitudinal plan remained in place during the fourth century. The basilica served as a prime space for showing Christians to one another but also for forming Christian identities through the routines of daily services, semi-weekly homilies, vigils, hymn-singing, memorials and the celebration of feast days. Such habituation rendered the church, in the words of Chrysostom, a veritable 'dyer's vat' for individual transformation (Hom. in Act. 29).

To appreciate the relation between the shape ofspace and the liturgy within it, I shall focus on the Byzantine Divine Liturgy. The linear design ofthe basilica

10 R. Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine architecture, 39-67, esp. 43.

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