Definitions for iconostasisˌaɪ kəˈnɒs tə sɪs; -ˌsiz
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word iconostasis
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
i•co•nos•ta•sisˌaɪ kəˈnɒs tə sɪs; -ˌsiz(n.)(pl.)-ses
a partition or screen on which icons are placed, separating the sanctuary from the main part of an Eastern church.
Origin of iconostasis:
1825–35; < MGk
a wall of icons between the sanctuary and the nave in an Eastern Orthodox church
In Eastern Christianity an iconostasis is a wall of icons and religious paintings, separating the nave from the sanctuary in a church. Iconostasis also refers to a portable icon stand that can be placed anywhere within a church. The iconostasis evolved from the Byzantine templon, a process complete by the fifteenth century. A direct comparison for the function of the main iconostasis can be made to the layout of the great Temple in Jerusalem. That Temple was designed with three parts. The holiest and inner-most portion was that where the Ark of the Covenant was kept. This portion, the Holy of Holies, was separated from the second larger part of the building's interior by a curtain, the "veil of the temple". Only priests were allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. The third part was the entrance court. This architectural tradition for the two main parts can be seen carried forward in Christian churches and is still most demonstratively present in Eastern Orthodox churches where the iconostatsis divides the altar, the Holy of Holies containing the concecrated Eucharist – the manifestation of the New Covenant, from the larger portion of the church accessible to the faithful. In the Eastern Orthodox tradition only men can enter the altar portion behind the iconostasis.
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