The ambo. For preaching and reading, some regions of the Christian world used a raised tribune or ambo, placed in the middle of or facing the congregation, which may also be called a bema platform, a term sometimes also applied to the altar platform or to that on which the priests sat, pulpitum pulpit, reading table, etc. In any case the ambo was unknown in Africa W of Tripolitania, where the bishop seems to have spoken from the apse, and in Spain, where the clergy were in the enclosure in front of the apse. It was rare in Syria-Palestine, in the classical sense of the term, but in N Syria its function was linked to that of the presbyterium in the semicircular exedra of the nave, generally given the name of Syrian ambo see above.
The ambo’s place in the nave and its distance from the altar enclosure varied. It could be on the axis of the nave, sometimes far forward. This was so in Hagia Sophia central plan, where a gallery joined it to the choir see below, solea, and other churches in Constantinople, Asia Minor and the Greek islands. This arrangement occurs sporadically also in the West Boppard, Trier, Geneva, Lavant in the Tyrol etc.. In other regions it was out of the axis, either irregularly Tripolitania or consistently, as, e.g., J.P. Sodini has established for the Balkans; in S Greece Achaia, it was more often to the N of the nave i.e., to the left in an oriented church; in the N Balkans, it was generally to the S i.e., to the right. In Palestine and Cyrenaica too, we find ambos connected to the altar enclosure and projecting from it slightly or not at all.
Finally, we know some cases of double ambos, either probably successive e.g., Philippi in Macedonia, where we often see a small ambo linked to the choir and another external ambo, of classic type, or contemporary e.g., one on each side of the choir, as would frequently happen in medieval Italy; it seems that in some buildings the ambo could be replaced by one or more lecterns e.g., the double table at the entrance to the choir in S Palestine and W Galilee.
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