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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(See ICONOCLASM). Iconostasis (εἰκονόστασις) is that part of an Eastern church which corresponds to the altar-rails in English churches. It is often mistaken for the roodscreen (q.v.), which in its general arrangement it resembles, only (the mysteries being absolutely to be veiled from the eyes of the people) the panels are solid to the top. The roodscreen separates nave and choir; the iconostasis, however, separates choir and bema. "It has three doors; that it the center conducting directly to the bema; that to the right to the diaconicon; that of the left to the prothesis, through which, of course, the great entrance is made. On the right of the central door, on entering, is the icon of our Lord; on the left, that of the mother of God; the others are arranged according to the taste or devotion of the architect or founder." The earliest iconostasis is believed to be the one remaining in the Arian crypt-church of Tepekerman, in the Crimea, which probably dates from about A.D. 350. Neale, Hist. Eastern Church, Introd. 1, 191 sq.

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Iconomachy'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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