THE SIXTH CENTURY ART
Page
8
The Structure of the Greek Iconostasis
1 . The Crucifix with Mary and John
2 . The Deesis in the center with archangels and saints
3 . Removable or permanent feast day icons
4 . The Annunciation to Mary
5 . The four Evangelists or four Church Fathers
6 . An angel or deacon
7 . An icon of Christ
8 . An icon of the Mother of God
9 . Local saints
The Structure of the Russian Iconostasis
A complete Russian iconostasis has at least five rows, one on top of the other.
1 . A simple cross
2 . The patriarchs of the Old Testament: Adam, David, Solomon, Moses, and others. In the center, the Trinity as the initiator of the covenant between God and humanity.
3 . The prophets of the Old Testament. In the center, the Mother of God of the Sign, to her left usually David, to the right Solomon.
4 . A row of the Feast Day images: the Nativity of Mary, the Entrance of Mary into the Temple, the Nativity of Jesus, the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, the Annunciation of Mary, the Entrance into Jerusalem, Easter (the Descent to Hell), the Ascension of Christ, Pentecost, the Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Tabor, the Dormition of the Mother of God, and frequently even more Feast Day images.
5 . The Intercessory Assembly of the Church: in the center the deesis; to the left and right the archangels Michael and Gabriel; the apostles Peter and Paul; the holy Church Doctors, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, John Chrysostom; the Great Martyrs, George and Demetrius; sometimes local saints or founders of monasteries.
6 . The Annunciation to Mary
7 . The four Evangelists or Church Fathers
8 . Church Fathers and/or important members of the hierarchy.
9 . Communion of the Apostles (in which Christ is shown twice: giving the bread to six Apostles on one side and then giving the wine to the other six on the other side).
10 . Christ Pantocrator, or the titular icon of the parish with the patron saint or feast day, to whom or which the church has been consecrated.
11 . The Mother of God with Child.
12 . Angels and/or deacons.
13 . Local saints.
Iconostasis, Chirch of Studenica, Serbia.
look closer
I.P.Volskii (1817-68). Russian Living Room with an Icon Corner. Watercolor on paper.