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#382049 06/25/12 02:42 AM
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I have noticed that icon screens that are more solid and wall-like in character typically grace the Orthodox churches that I have visited. Some have been quite elaborate, others have seemed to consist of not much more than walls of varnished plywood with rows of icons mounted on them. In every case, however, the icon screen has been a tall, solid structure.

From my experiences when visiting Eastern Rite Catholic churches, however, a rather different style of icon screen usually dominates. Iconostases in the Eastern Catholic churches I have been to usually end up being much more open and less wall-like...more like rood screens with icons floating within them...like this one, for example:

http://olphukrchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/LackawannaChurch.jpg

Is this a typical difference between Orthodox churches and Eastern Catholic churches, or is this difference, perhaps, merely an anomoly of the churches in my area? If the difference is universal, what is the reason for it?

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That's an example of what an OCA priest I know refers to as a "peek-a-boo" iconostasis.

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That is one barren looking Iconstasis - but it's what the Body of Christ is like (the people) that counts.

I like very ornate Serbian Style Iconstasis - no one can see the priest or Deacon unless they come out the door - and then they pull the curtains.

But they are beautiful.


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It might not be finished. The way it is designed, additional icon panels for the Apostles Row and the Festal Row could be inserted between the upright beams at a later date. But, left as it is, I would consider it an example of liturgical minimalism: "Someone told us we had to have an iconostasis, and this is the least we could do to comply".

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I'm inclined to go with Stuart on this, It may well be that the parish could not afford to complete the entire iconostasis and had it constructed in this way so as to be able to do so later.

I can't imagine that this was an effort to be minimalist because they could have just called it complete at the level of the existing icons - why bother with the added superstructure unless it was to be used eventually.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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I've attended that parish a couple of times and I remember someone saying that was the look they were going for. I cannot provide proof to that effect though. If you look at the outside of the Church the Iconostasis echoes the design on the top of the Church.

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I am always amszed and in awe of churches that hsve the $$$ to build up a really great looking church - especially considering the cost of icons and the nature of all the "custom" work needed to implement them.

I wonder if $$$ has slowed down and reduced our numbers as much as anything.

It is the wealthy churches that people get sttracted to going to (all the beautiful art - the Holy Icons- are inspiring)

The Mission churches and churches on an extremely small budget have to do what they can.

I aaw a mission church with stands holding the icons in positions - basically creating an iconostasis in a rented Episcopal church (with doors etc)

Last night I attended a service at a Methodist Church - it was interesting - it was basically a rock group singing pop religious music - but I looked at how small their church was - how small their congregation was - and how much money they had in the church ---- just to make the monthly payments on everything must be really hard.

I also had the thought " what am I doing in a Methodist Church on the feast day of Saint John the Baptist"?

I wonder if Christ would approve of all the buildings and the stress it puts on Christianity.

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Quote
I also had the thought " what am I doing in a Methodist Church on the feast day of Saint John the Baptist"?

Good question! LOL! wink

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Originally Posted by Erie Byz
I've attended that parish a couple of times and I remember someone saying that was the look they were going for. I cannot provide proof to that effect though. If you look at the outside of the Church the Iconostasis echoes the design on the top of the Church.

Yes, indeed, it does confused See here [olphukrchurch.org]

Thanks, Ed.

Many years,

Neil


"One day all our ethnic traits ... will have disappeared. Time itself is seeing to this. And so we can not think of our communities as ethnic parishes, ... unless we wish to assure the death of our community."
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Originally Posted by Erie Byz
I've attended that parish a couple of times and I remember someone saying that was the look they were going for. I cannot provide proof to that effect though. If you look at the outside of the Church the Iconostasis echoes the design on the top of the Church.

I somewhat like it...I find the difference in iconostasis interpretations in this country to be artistically refreshing--and though art appreciation is subjective, I tend to like all of them: the open, the closed, the high, the low, the mosaic, the painted, the marble, the wood, the brass, etc., etc...They are all so beautiful!

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So there's no substantial reason for the difference that I'm seeing, then.

I only wondered if the Eastern Catholics, generally speaking, preferred a more open style of iconastasis than the Orthodox do, on account of some theological or liturgical reason. Like I say, the Orthodox churches around here all have the closed, "wall" style icon screens whereas each of the Ukrainian churches around here has an iconastasis that is more open and "see through".

Safe to say that the different styles have nothing to do with a difference in what iconastases mean to the Orthodox as opposed to what they mean to Eastern Catholics?

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Originally Posted by Roman Interloper
Safe to say that the different styles have nothing to do with a difference in what iconastases mean to the Orthodox as opposed to what they mean to Eastern Catholics?

Why would there be? You answered your own question in the first sentence of your post.

Many years,

Neil


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"Why would there be?"

I don't know why there would be; this is all relatively new to me. If there were a reason for it, it might have come out in the course of a discussion on the subject.

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RI - just how many Eastern Churches - either Catholic or Orthodox have you visited ?

I suspect there are as many styles of Iconostases as there are houses.

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Part of the problem is how Latinized the Eastern Catholic Church is. And where the Latinization (i.e. in what symbols they affirm their Catholicism).

E.g. the Ruthenian Byz. Cath. Church parishes seem to have no problems with the 3 barred cross and the iconostas. Many parishes of some other Byz. Cath. Church would feel that that is unacceptably "Orthodox" and a "betrayal" of their "Catholicism". These parishes would not have either iconostases or 3 barred crosses.

In such a situation, more "open style" iconostases might be less problematic at least pro tem. One pastor told me that the "half-way up" iconostas was all he could manage to push his congregation. "Any higher and they would have lynched me." Whereas other parishes and other Byz. have been able to recover more of their Orthodox liturgical spirituality (a la Canon Law).

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