: 13-19
Institute of Arts, Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University

The article traces the interpretation of Christian symbolism in the Middle Ages, analyzes the works of Dionysius the Areopagite, Saint Augustine, John of Damascus.

In the Middle Ages of Christian Europe, God is the Creator always in the center, and the symbols make it possible to know God, to spiritually touch it. Therefore, in the Middle Ages, symbolism develops in Christian art and architecture.

In many religions of the world, the temple itself is considered one of the main symbols, and especially in Christianity. The foundation of the Christian temple is the cross itself, which symbolizes Christ. The temple is most often built on the mountain to be higher up to God and be the most remarkable building amongst all.

Any increase in space seemed to be something sacred and not manifest. But the construction of the temple can only take place in a properly established and consecrated place. Сonstruction imitates the creation of the world. The point where the first brick is laid is identified with the omphalos, the navel of the earth. Often this place is then inside the temple is an altar. It is important that the place where the temple is located is always virtually identical with the "Center of the World". This is a marker of a place where the portal is opened up to the higher forces for the believer. The person passing the threshold of the temple enters the symbolic space. This space (interior of the temple) is full of different Christian symbols.

The symbol was the presence of the sacred in earthly life and with the help of a symbol a person could know the sacred. The temple is a place that protects from evil forces and at the same time the interior of the temple reminds of these forces. Consequently, the very ancient concept of the temple as an image of the world - the idea of the sanctuary, reproducing the universe in its essence - was passed to the sacred architecture of Christian Europe.

The article also analyzes the hierarchy of symbols present in the Christian temple. Explains the meaning of the main symbols that must necessarily be in the traditional Christian temple. The article explains the connection between symbolism and sacraments that occur in the temple.

The symbols with the help of the sacraments open the believer's spiritual path from the material world to the transcendental one. The Middle Ages has made an important step towards understanding the specific symbol as an instrument for expressing such meaning that can not fit into a mental-discursive thesis.

Traced the general concept of symbolism in the time of the European Middle Ages. Compares the understanding of symbolism in the days of Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The article analyzes the symbolism of the architecture of the Christian temple. The architecture of the Christian temple most clearly reflected the peculiarities of the medieval worldview. The temple served as a model of world creation, including the entire space of the universe - sky, earth, paradise and hell.

Such temple symbolism, as a cross, an icon and others, is based on a combination in one form of its two values - the earthly (substantive, material) and the divine (ideal, spiritual).

The article highlights the following accents: Christian symbols exist both for concealing the truth, and for its discovery, knowledge; knowledge of the highest truth is possible only on the basis of the decoding of symbolic images embodied in medieval art and architecture, and specifically in the Christian temple.

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