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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The symbolic role of lighting in both Islam and Christianity is best mirrored in religious buildings, where light plays an integral role in the spiritual relation between the believers and religion. Differences in terms of the architectural structure demand different lighting devices in mosques and churches. The same can be said about the rituals and the essence of each religion. Apart from the noticeable differences a comparative study between Byzantine and post-Byzantine churches and their contemporaneous mosques reveal that common features in illumination practices do exist, often manifesting cultural exchanges between the two religions. This study aims to highlight these exchanges by presenting in parallel the furnishing of lighting and the lighting devices used in Islamic and Christian religious buildings up to the 16th century while following their evolution and setting them in a broad historical and cultural context. To the same aim the symbolic role of the Light in Orthodox Christianity and Islam will be comparatively discussed.

Keywords: illumination, lighting devices, Islamic religious buildings, Byzantine churches, lighting, Christian churches, religious rituals, symbolism, Christianity, Islam, mosque illumination

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