In the Christian liturgy of the early centuries, the Bema was a sacred, elevated space in which the person officiating at the service proclaimed the Sacred Readings and addressed the faithful. In the Eastern Church, it indicated the area of the building reserved for the clergy with the altar, the cathedra and the seats of the concelebrants, separated from the rest of the church by a low fence. In time, the Bema became the space beyond the iconostasis, not visible to the faithful.