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2nd iconostasis in some Russian churches?

melkite

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Is there a specific purpose for this? I've seen pictures of some old-rite churches, and something similar in some OCA parishes that I've been to, where there is the "main" iconostasis (the one all Orthodox churches have) and then a ways back into the church, there is another barrier of icons with an opening that leads into the area in front of the main iconostasis. It usually is not as tall or solid as the iconostasis. In the OCA parish where I've seen it, it was just a line of individual icon stands and candles stands, with the readers stands in the area between it and the main iconostasis. I've seen pictures where it looks more like a 2nd iconostasis (link to image below). What is the purpose for this in churches that have them? Is there a firm tradition and meaning for them, or is it kind of loose? Are laity allowed between this barrier and the main iconostasis?

 

Dominika

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Of course allowed, if they have something to do in "solea" (as at least in Poland we call this part. At my (Polish) parish there are just two icons each sides, so very simple.

I'm not sure if there is special meaning, rather some poeple wanted some icosn to be more shown, that's all. Also the reason you have kiots (wooden or metal or gold big standing frames) for icons taht may also stand in such way, but a bit farer from iconostasis - case e.g. of Bulgaria.
 
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In some monasteries, the area in-between is where the monastics sit and stand. The issue of icons "in the way" is also present in large churches that have big columns.
 

melkite

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In some monasteries, the area in-between is where the monastics sit and stand. The issue of icons "in the way" is also present in large churches that have big columns.
I was aware of that in monasteries. Is there a purpose in a parish setting? Or did it maybe evolve there as an emulation of the setup in monastery churches?
 
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I was aware of that in monasteries. Is there a purpose in a parish setting? Or did it maybe evolve there as an emulation of the setup in monastery churches?
I'm inclined to agree with Dominika regarding a parish having a special icon the parish wants displayed at all times. Emulation of monastic practices is the Orthodox way of doing a lot of things. As to what purpose, as long as it beautifies the church and brings people's minds to God, I think it's good.
 

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Some AOA parishes have a pair of analogs with Christ and the Theotokos flanking the Solea, positioned to allow easier veneration of those Icons than by walking up to the Iconostasis.
 

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Is there a specific purpose for this? I've seen pictures of some old-rite churches, and something similar in some OCA parishes that I've been to, where there is the "main" iconostasis (the one all Orthodox churches have) and then a ways back into the church, there is another barrier of icons with an opening that leads into the area in front of the main iconostasis. It usually is not as tall or solid as the iconostasis. In the OCA parish where I've seen it, it was just a line of individual icon stands and candles stands, with the readers stands in the area between it and the main iconostasis. I've seen pictures where it looks more like a 2nd iconostasis (link to image below). What is the purpose for this in churches that have them? Is there a firm tradition and meaning for them, or is it kind of loose? Are laity allowed between this barrier and the main iconostasis?

I was talking with a priest friend a few years back as they were preparing a large icon with a kneeler in front similar to what can be found in many Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox churches in the old country. He said they were putting one in their admittedly small, North American Orthodox church because it would break up the space within the church, give people something to anchor too during the services (otherwise everyone ended up crowding the back wall and side walls of the church), and give those in distress a place to kneel and pour their hearts out to Christ and/or the Mother of God. It serves its purpose well, and although it's not part of a lineup like in bigger churches, it's very much allowed to go past it :)
 

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Some AOA parishes have a pair of analogs with Christ and the Theotokos flanking the Solea, positioned to allow easier veneration of those Icons than by walking up to the Iconostasis.
I know of one young OCA parish in which each of these analogs has "two stories"....with identical Icons. The "lower story" is just the right height for young children to venerate without assistance.

I wish more parishes would consider doing this!
 

Dominika

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I know of one young OCA parish in which each of these analogs has "two stories"....with identical Icons. The "lower story" is just the right height for young children to venerate without assistance.

I wish more parishes would consider doing this!
At my parish in basement church, that are weekdays Liturgies and Sunday Liturgies for children, youth and thei parents, on walls (but not in front of iconostasis) below big icons are smaller and installed so low that little children are able to kiss them :)
 

melkite

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Some AOA parishes have a pair of analogs with Christ and the Theotokos flanking the Solea, positioned to allow easier veneration of those Icons than by walking up to the Iconostasis.
My parish has that as well. The space they occupy is small compared to the open space between them. I hadn't thought of that as being the same thing in my own parish until now.
 

Cavaradossi

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I was aware of that in monasteries. Is there a purpose in a parish setting? Or did it maybe evolve there as an emulation of the setup in monastery churches?
There is a practical use insofar as it can keep the kleros separated from the rest of the nave, thus allowing the readers and psaltes to operate with fewer distractions.
 

ndigila

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I was aware of that in monasteries. Is there a purpose in a parish setting? Or did it maybe evolve there as an emulation of the setup in monastery churches?
Somebody may correct me if I am wrong, but I think it may have to do with the blurring of the distinction between the Royal Doors and the Beautiful Gates.
 
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Somebody may correct me if I am wrong, but I think it may have to do with the blurring of the distinction between the Royal Doors and the Beautiful Gates.
I thought those were two terms for the same thing.
 

Dominika

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Wow, I thin I've never heard term "the beautiful gates" :)
 

SirHandel6

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I wonder if this has any connection to the Old Testament church and the layout of the Tabernacle within Solomon's temple. It too had a sort of double altar with the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. I could be reading too much into it but seems interesting.
 

ndigila

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I thought those were two terms for the same thing.
The Royal Doors were the entrance for the exonarthex to the nave. The Beautiful Gates are the doors going into the altar. I'm not sure how this transition occurred, but the Royal Doors eventually became synonymous with the Beautiful Gates. I'm spitballing here, but maybe it's because we no longer have an army of Deacons telling the Catechumens at the exonarthex to depart :). I think it explains "The Doors, The Doors" exclamation before the recitation of the Creed during the liturgy.
 

augustin717

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The Royal Doors were the entrance for the exonarthex to the nave. The Beautiful Gates are the doors going into the altar. I'm not sure how this transition occurred, but the Royal Doors eventually became synonymous with the Beautiful Gates. I'm spitballing here, but maybe it's because we no longer have an army of Deacons telling the Catechumens at the exonarthex to depart :). I think it explains "The Doors, The Doors" exclamation before the recitation of the Creed during the liturgy.
changes in architecture and the smaller size of churches may be an explanation. Also the fact that having a set of doors for an imperial visit was kinda far fetched for most churches.
But even the exonarthex has mostly disappeared in the new churches and even in older churches that marked it by a low wall, it’s being dismantled during renovations.
 

Dominika

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The Royal Doors were the entrance for the exonarthex to the nave. The Beautiful Gates are the doors going into the altar. I'm not sure how this transition occurred, but the Royal Doors eventually became synonymous with the Beautiful Gates. I'm spitballing here, but maybe it's because we no longer have an army of Deacons telling the Catechumens at the exonarthex to depart :). I think it explains "The Doors, The Doors" exclamation before the recitation of the Creed during the liturgy.
Ok, I see, just interesting if it was in every local tradition, I mean both types of doors. For me, this exclamantion "doors doors" could be even for the main doors of the church, since catechuments were leaving the church :) Anyway, interesting, thank you :)
 

ilyazhito

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I thought those were two terms for the same thing.
The Royal Doors were originally the doors separating the Narthex from the Nave. When the physical separation between Narthex and Nave was lost, then the term Royal Doors began to designate the.central doors in the iconostasis.
 
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