Sunday, September 12, 2010
Some new pics of the St. Mary Iconostasis
My church, Dormition of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church (its official name, but, to save time, we'll simply call it St. Mary) has been blessed over the past two years to have some of the white washed away by the additions of icons over the baldachino or canopy. The first addition was a Platytera icon, generously donated by a couple no longer attending our parish and now we have an Annunciation icon boxing the Platytera. The funds were contributed by the faithful and this beautiful icon went up in early August before our patronal feast and the visit of His Grace, Bishop BASIL.
Traditionally, the Annunciation Icon goes on the Royal Doors which guard the Sanctuary along with icons of the Four Evangelists. But, St. Mary is not a traditional Orthodox church. It was originally built by an Assemblies of God congregation and became the property of St. Mary back in the 1970s, I think. There is way too much white space. But we are finally working towards correcting that. Some would say that if you have too much there, it would be distracting. We must remember that the Liturgy and our prayers are not strictly for the uplifting of our hearts and minds, but all of our senses. We believe in a bodily Resurrection, do we not so why should not all parts of the body be stimulated and elevated during the Liturgy? That is why the Orthodox use incense, music, artistry, do things which involve tactile sensation (e.g. making the sign of the cross) and receive the Eucharist. The Psalmist says for us to "taste and see that the Lord is good." He is not directing us to some metaphorical or symbolic tasting, but LITERAL tasting, in this case of our Lord's Immaculate Body and Precious Blood.
With icons, they are more than just pretty pictures. They are theology in color. They are words for the illiterate. They are educational. Even the most unlearned person can be educated and enlightened by an icon. Also, they are gateways to heaven. I remember once hearing a story of a woman, an atheist, who went into a Russian Church just to look at the icons because she was interested in the artwork. She left nearly in terror. Why? She said that she was not only looking at the icons, but they were looking at her! Windows go both ways. The Lord, the saints are all there, mystically and in reality.
Anyway, sorry to preface that, but hope you enjoy the pictures of the Iconstasis and the new icons over the baldachino.