PAREKKLESIA, a description in use especially in Greek-speaking areas for a subsidiary church attached to a larger church and closely
connected with it. Examples of such subsidiary churches are, however, just as frequent in Egyptian church building. The parekklesia could have been erected at the same time as the main church or at a later date. To be recognized as a parekklesia, it must present a closed church area, be exclusively intended for liturgical use, and also contain all the furnishings necessary for the liturgy. In particular to the latter belong an altar and an apse, or at least a niche representing it. The parekklesia, accordingly, is fundamentally distinct from all other side rooms in the church. An oratories, which serves only for prayer or personal devotions, is not a parekklesia, even if it is equipped with a large prayer niche.
The church of the MOUNT SINAI MONASTERY OF SAINT CATHERINE originally possessed only two parekklesia on the two sides of the apse. The Chapel of the Burning Bush to the east of the main apse is later. At a later date, the side rooms on the side aisles were also given a new function as parekklesia (Forsyth, 1968, pp. 11-14). In the same way a parekklesia was subsequently added to the north basilica of ABU MINA. This actually presents three altars, and was chiefly intended for the carrying out of the baptismal ceremony (Jaritz, 1970, p. 74). Further, all the larger churches at SCETIS are equipped with parekklesia. The larger secondary churches, which as a rule are actually spatially separate, must be considered independent churches. From the late Fatimid period, with a view to increasing the frequency of masses, small parekklesia were set up in many Cairo churches in the side rooms and the galleries. They were in each case provided with an altar and an iconostasis shutting off the altar area. It was only after sanctuaries with several altars were introduced, well into the Mamluk period, that the designation parekklesia for the side altars lost its justification.
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