The Term “Bema”

The term “bema” can refer to an altar, a throne, or a platform for delivering religious talks.

A bema used as an altar is a raised platform with various steps. Within the Manichaean Church the main altar often consists of four steps leading to the top of the platform. The top of the bema is viewed as the fifth step.

The term “Bema” is Syriac Aramaic and literally refers to a throne. Both Hearers and Elect gather around the Bema to hear to Word of the Great Father because it is from the Bema, which is the Throne of Light in each local assembly of the Manichaeans, that the Truth is elucidated, by which the People of Light who reside in the earth are illumined.

The word “Bema” is often used to signify the teaching platform in each assembly of the faithful. This is a lectern or podium from which the Gospel is read and sermons and lessons are presented to those gathered in each assembly.