Sunday, June 4, 2017

 St. Sofia Orthodox Church
Baselstr. & Gladiolenstr. 2

St. Sofia Orthodox Church
Munchenstein, Switzerland

Munchenstein is a small town south of Basel.

"All the Greek-Orthodox churches in Switzerland belong to the Metropolitan (bishopric) of Switzerland.  Bartholomew's Archontoon is the Ecumenical Patriarch. In 2002, he also laid the cornerstone of this church..., making it the spiritual center of the Greek Orthodox Church in northwest Switzerland.

"The first ideas for the construction of a church of its own originated in the late 1980s. 

"The total area of ​​the property is about 1000sqm and the building height is 14m. The foundation was laid on January 19, 2002 and the church was inaugurated on October 12, 2002, after ten months of construction. The total cost - almost 9/10 of the total (was)  donated  .
Just behind the Tramlinie and the traffic circle of the Baselstrasse, you can see a building that is easily recognizable as a church: a tower through which arcuate openings can be seen, carrying a cross; A main building with a dome, almost as tall as the tower and also crowned by a cross; An arcade at the entrance; The wrought-iron fence with a recurring Christmonogram, the property borders the Trottoir along the traffic of the roundabout and the Quartierstrasse. 

Wrought Iron Fence

"Concerning the interior of the church,
  • The iconostasis, carved from oak, was handcrafted in Athens and finished after seven months' work in 2003.
  • The murals , which always have a specific theme from the traditional Orthodox tradition, were first painted on cloth by a Greek monastery in Megara and then placed in the designated places.
  • Among the items made in Greece are the candelabrum, the hand-carved bishop's chair, the pulpit, the wall chairs, the remaining chairs, the silver oil lamps, the candlestick and the candle stand with integrated smoke exhaust as well as all the liturgical devices placed in the altar room.
  • The double eagle on the marble floor once symbolized the power of the emperor and that of the patriarch.
  • The dome is decorated according to the orthodox tradition, with the representation of the Christ- Pantokrator surrounded by angels in half-figure. His right is raised to a blessing of blessing, while in his left hand he holds the Bible, which, according to orthodox understanding, symbolizes the glad tidings of the Gospel and the commandments to be derived from them. Old Testament prophets as well as the evangelists are also depicted. The first proclaimed the coming of the Savior, the evangelists made known His work of salvation. Thus the unity of the two testaments is emphasized.
  • In the calotte (cap) of the apse in the altar chamber, the enthroned Mother of God is depicted with a child - called the Platytera - accompanied by angels. The presentation of Mary, which is based on tradition, is intended to illustrate the role of mediator between God and man, which is guaranteed by Jesus as the savior of the world, but also emphasize the position of women in the Orthodox Church. This is also emphasized by the figure of the Annunciation of Mary above the apse, which is to be completed next year, together with other themes from the divine Oiconomy .
"Finally, the mosaic of the deceased Lucerne artist Fred de Roy (1911-1995) is located in the church hall on the lower floor of the church . (Link 1.)


Photos: Taken in April 2017 on iPhone by RW while  living and working in
                 Basel, Switzerland.
Link 1: (translation)
Link 2: 


God, be with persecuted Christians throughout the world. Amen (SW.)

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