A breathtaking image of Christ is displayed in vivid hues of blue and gold inside the large dome at St. Elijah Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church.
The majestic imagery is proof that there's more to the St. Elijah Food Festival than the tasty eastern Mediterranean dishes the annual event has become known for.
The church's stunning iconography, faith-inspired architecture and rich history also will be on display when the annual festival and holiday bake sale gets under way Friday and Nov. 3 at 15000 N May.
The Rev. Jeremy Davis, 35, associate priest, said visitors may learn all about the church during guided tours that will be offered every half-hour. He said each tour will last about 45 minutes and include time for visitors' questions.
Davis said between 700 and 800 people took the tours last year, so church leaders have concluded that it is a popular part of the annual fest.
“It's an opportunity for people to learn about the Orthodox Church, maybe the basics of the history of the parish and the things that are distinctive to Orthodox churches,” he said.
Davis said he has been the church's associate priest for about five years and has noticed that many people are immediately curious about the church's notable architecture and iconography.
He said the church's nave is built in the shape of a cross, a traditional architectural style for Orthodox churches. The cruciform style is part of the Orthodox Christianity faith history, Davis said.
“It's significant that we're worshipping in the shape of a cross, surrounded by the life of Christ,” he said.
Visitors to the church will see several areas such as the narthex and nave that are found in all Orthodox houses of worship. Like most Orthodox churches, the narthex or vestibule area at St. Elijah includes iconography written especially for this part of the church building.
The St. Elijah narthex, which is perhaps more elaborate than the vestibule or foyers in many non-Orthodox churches, features iconography depicting Jesus' disciples at Pentecost and another depicting the funeral of the Virgin Mary.