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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center

Ikonostasis or Ikon screen or Screen with Ikon

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Ikons Ikonostasis 1st
Sunday
Great
Lent

Triumph
of
Orthodoxy
(Sun.
of the)
4th
Week
After
Holy Cross

Fathers
of
7th
Ecumenical
Council
7th
Ecumenical
Council

Nicaea
II

 

An Ikonostasis is also called an "Ikon screen" or "Screen with Ikons". An Ikonostasis contains ikons.
The ikonostasis separates the Holy Altar from the remainder of the church to remind us that the fullness of Holy God's reign is not yet with us. We are separated from Holy God's throne (the Holy Table) in the church-building because in reality we are still separated from the full glory of Holy God.

Yet, through Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ's coming, men are not separated from Holy God Himself as they were before; through Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ we are mystically united to Him. This new relationship is shown by placing icons of Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ and the main figures of our salvation-history (The Theotokos, the Holy Apostles and Holy Prophets) not only as a sign of our separation from Holy God, but also as a reminder that it is here that the Kingdom of Heaven meets the earth at the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.

Ikonostasis contains:

Usually, an Ikonostasis has the Royal Door in the center, four ikons at eye level on the wall, an ikon on each of the two Deacon Doors, and a number of ikons above eye level on the wall.

From the people's left side to the people's right side, usually, an Ikonostasis has four ikons at eye level on the wall:

Patron
of
parish
Deacon
Door
with
angel
or
deacon
Theotokos Royal
Door
Christ
the
Teacher
Deacon
Door
with
angel
or
deacon
Holy
Prophet
and
Glorious
Forerunner
John the
Baptist

Why Do We Have Curtains on the Doors of the Ikonostasis?

The curtains on the doors of the ikonostasis serve many functions.

First of all, like the ikonostasis itself, the curtains remind us that the altar area is the Holy Place, the sanctuary, the Haikal-it is a place set apart for the celebration of the Divine Services, the sanctification of the holy gifts of bread and wine. It is like the Throne Room of God in Heaven (described in the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament) and like the Sanctuary of the Temple in Jerusalem, because God is present in the Gospel Book on the Holy Table and in the Holy Eucharist. No one enters the altar except to serve the Lord in the preparation or celebration of the Divine Services.

Second, the curtains on the Deacon Doors (the side doors) keep the altar servers from being distracted by looking out at the congregation and keep the congregation from being disturbed by the actions of the servers.

Third, the curtains remind us that in this life Heaven is not wholly open to us. The curtain of the Holy Doors is open during the Liturgy because in the Liturgy we enter into the eternal worship of Heaven, and the curtains of the Deacon Doors are opened when actions take place that show God coming to His people-the processions with the Holy Gospel and with the Holy Gifts. At all other times, the curtains are closed, just as Heaven is not directly open to us in this life, and because we never enter the Holy Place casually, only to serve the Lord.

The Pictures on the sides of the Royal Door

Theotokos     Christ the Teacher

History

Ikonostasis began as simple ikon stands. Two pieces of wood were placed in front of the santuary. The ikons were placed between the two pieces of wood. As Ikonostasis developed, they became more architecturally complex structures. As Ikonostasis moved into richer areas, they contained more expensive items.

More Information

His Excellency, Bishop Nicholas Samra's Papers

Hymnography and iconography in the Melkite Church An introduction Please click on the title of the paper. The above article is taken from a conference paper presented by His Excellency, His Excellency, Bishop Nicholas Samra, Titular Bishop Gerasa and Auxiliary Bishop Newton, USA. The American usage and spelling have been maintained.

Iconography in the Eastern Church Saint Ann Melkite Catholic Church, West Patterson, NJ

Other Papers

The Face of God By Fr. Joseph Hallit Melkite Greek Catholic Church Eparchy of Newton

General Information

Resource Center Click on Icons Sts. Peter and Paul Melkite Catholic Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Orientale Lumen, Icons, Christian Iconography and Christian Icons or Ikons

Examples

Annunciation (Al Bisharah) Cathedral, Roslindale, MA. Please click on photos, then click on Cathedral From inside

Holy Cross Melkite-Greek Catholic Parish, Placentia, CA . Please click on Pictorial, then click on A view of our iconostasis.

Holy Transfiguration Melkite Greek-Catholic Church, McLean, VA

St. Anne Melkite Greek Catholic Church, West Paterson, NJ

St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Sacramento CA

St. George Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Milwaukee, WI

St. Joseph Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Scranton, Pennsylvania

The Pictures on the sides of the Royal Door

Theotokos     Christ the Teacher


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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center
Martha Liles
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Melkite Greek Catholic Church Information Center is dedicated to my cousins: Bucky (Richard C. Liles) and Shirley (Shirley Jean Liles Buck). Bucky fell asleep in the Lord on Dec. 12, 2000 and Shirley fell asleep in the Lord on Nov. 8, 2001.
O God of all spirits and of all flesh, who have destroyed death, overcome the devil, and given life to the world: grant, O Lord, to the souls of your servants Bucky and Shirley, who has departed from this life, that it may rest in a place of light, in a place of happiness, in a place of peace, where there is no pain, no grief, no sighing. And since You are a gracious God and the Lover of Mankind, forgive him/her every sin he/she has committed by thought, or word, or deed, for there is not a man who lives and does not sin : You alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting, and your word is true. You are the Resurrection and the Life, and the repose of your departed servants Bucky and Shirley. O Christ our God, and we send up glory to You, together with your eternal Father and your all-holy, good and life-givng Spirit, now and always and for ages upon ages. Amen.

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