The word "icon" in Greek means"form". The sacred images of the Lord, the Mother of God, angels, saints, we call icons. There are so many different icons, you can read more about them in the article What icons there are. And in this article we will tell you about what icons can be seen in the temple.


Now we will talk about the church iconostasis. It is worth noting that it is the obligatory and the most important element of every temple. The iconostasis consists entirely of icons, arranged strictly in tiers, some of them mandatory, others - no. The number of tiers in each temple is different, but it should not be less than three.

Mandatory and optional icons

So, let's talk about the ranks of the iconostasis and the obligatory images of the faces of the Lord and the saints. In the 15-19 centuries. the order of a high iconostasis was formed. Now we will talk more about it.

The Russian iconostasis has 5 rows: local, deesis, festive, and patriotic.

Also, the Russian iconostasis has 3 doors: central, royal - they depict the Lord himself, on the northern and southern portraits of the archangel Gabriel and Michael.

Let's talk more about the rows of the iconostasis.

  1. In the local row there must be an iconSavior to the right of the royal gate, and the image of the Mother of God with the baby is on the left. Over the Royal Doors there should be an icon of the Last Supper. In this row may also be present personal icons and icons dedicated to the current holiday.
  2. The Deesis tier is the most important. In the middle is an icon or Savior on the throne. It depicts the saints who pray to Christ, and Christ Himself. The image of John the Baptist is on the right, then the archangel Gabriel and the apostle Paul, and to the left - the icon of the Mother of God, followed by the archangel Michael and the apostle Peter. Large iconostasis is supplemented by various images of saints, or 12 apostles.
  3. The festive series consists of icons of the twelveholidays and images of the Passover and Holy Week. Obligatory icons are the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. In some, but not in all temples, this series includes the icons of the Passion of Christ, the Assurance of Thomas, the Nativity of Our Lady and the Introduction to the Temple, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Epiphany.
  4. Prophetic series. Here are always depicted Kings David and Solomon, the prophet Ilya. In the center of the series is the icon of Our Lady of the Sign. Also, various saints can be depicted, their number depends on the size of the iconostasis of the temple.
  5. The prathetic series is a kind of galleryforefathers. This series contains icons of the ancestors of Christ - from Adam, Eve and Abel to Moses himself. In the center of the row there is an icon of the Fatherland or the Trinity of the Old Testament, at the choice of the temple.

The iconostasis necessarily ends with a cross or an icon of the Crucifixion. Sometimes on the sides of the cross you can see icons depicting Our Lady and John the Theologian.

Unique icons

In each temple there is a temple icon, i.e. it depicts the saint, after whom the temple is named, for example, the icon of Our Lady of Kazan is in the Kazan Cathedral. And the icon of the Mother of God "Merciful" is the property of the Monastery of Zachatiev.

Every Orthodox person should know what kind of icon should be addressed at this or that request. You can find this information by referring to the article What icon about what to pray.

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