Monday, February 15, 2010

The Iconostas in Ukrainian Churches

Shortly after the period of iconoclasm in the ninth century, Christians began attaching icons to the gates and the columns of the templon at the front of the nave and even started placing icons in front of the altar. This placement of icons did not yet constitute an iconostas but it would in later centuries evolve into one.

The iconostas in Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in Winnipeg, MB
  • At the very top of an iconostas may be a depiction of the Crucifixion in a two dimensional iconographic style. Generally, one will see the cross in the centre with Christ’s mother on His right hand side and St. John the Theologian depicted as a young man on His left hand side. However, in many instances one might only see Christ and the cross.
  • The icons of the uppermost tier (below the depiction of the Crucifixion, if there is one) frequently represent the Old Testament patriarchs, typically having icons of the forefathers from Adam to Moses.
  • The next lower level might be dedicated to icons of the Old Testament prophets, usually depicted holding scrolls representing prophesies of the Divine Incarnation
  • The next lower tier is usually that of the 12 major feast days (the festal icons).
  • Below the festal icons, one sometimes finds a row of icons forming an extended Deisis. The Pantocrator is in the centre with the Virgin Mary on His right and St. John the Baptist on His left. On each side of these, there are generally images of saints arranged in order of categories of saints.
  • Frequently, one finds a level of the iconostas in Ukrainian parishes that is dedicated to icons of the 12 apostles. Additionally, the apostle’s tier is usually placed above the festal icon tier when it is included on the iconostas instead of the Deisis tier.
  • The final and primary tier, at ground level, always contains the major icons of the iconostas.

The iconostas in St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Edmonton, AB

No comments:

Post a Comment