Reciting the Office at Xenophontos
Standing before the iconostasis, a monk recites the office in the new Catholicon (ca. 1815) at Xenophontos Monastery. Monks meet for the office eight times per day. Reverberations of traditional Byzantine chant linger in this sacred space and trigger an intuition of divine presence, their notes ascending to the spiritual realm and reflecting back to the congregation. Elaborate decoration dominates the interior’s visual impression in the form of glittering chandeliers, polished marble floors, gilded icon mounts, and the mobile round chandelier or corona beneath the dome. Enlivened by changing daylight and the flickering of lit candles, the sparkling objects help to render the impression of heaven on earth.