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Author Topic: Orthodoxy in movies  (Read 20632 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: December 15, 2004, 08:07:32 AM »

These are the movies I can think of that have at least a brief depiction of Orthodoxy:

The Deer Hunter

Nicholas and Alexandra

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Exorcist II: the Heretic

Exodus

Anybody think of any others?
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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2004, 08:37:43 AM »

I could list a whole bunch of Greek movies Wink
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2004, 09:29:32 AM »

These are the movies I can think of that have at least a brief depiction of Orthodoxy:

The Deer Hunter

Nicholas and Alexandra

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Exorcist II: the Heretic

Exodus

Anybody think of any others?
 Cool

I was under the imprssion that the Exorcist movies used an Eastern Catholic venue, not Orthodox (and I remember being angry that Greek was being used by these EC's  - as if there are THAT many Greek-speaking ECs.)

I also remember being insulted by the screen's version of Bram Stoker's Dracula - implying Vlad Drakul was Orthodox by way of a couple early and late scenes in the flick. Iin fact he was not Orthodox.

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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2004, 10:56:26 AM »

In the movie Terminal Man - I noticed that the Tom Hanks character crosses himself Orthodox style before he goes to sleep in the airport the first night.
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2004, 11:02:30 AM »

Tom Hanks is a Greek Orthodox convert.

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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2004, 11:05:20 AM »

Delta Force, starring Chuck Norris.  Although, there are all sorts of things wrong with the movie's depiction of Greek Orthodoxy. 
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2004, 11:12:44 AM »

Tom Hanks is a Greek Orthodox convert.

Demetri

And? What does that have to do with a character he is playing in a movie?
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« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2004, 11:29:12 AM »

One of the James Bond movies has a scene inside a church in I think St. Petersburg, but I watched it a long time ago so don't rightly recall. 
I can list lots & lots of movies... Russian movies that is.  :-D
Also, the Seinfeld episode where George was going to convert to Latvian Orthodoxy was da bomb.
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2004, 11:48:23 AM »



And? What does that have to do with a character he is playing in a movie?

Dont' know. You'll have to ask him. Then again...

maybe TomH's conversion has set with him better than other Toms'  Wink
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2004, 12:07:23 PM »

Dracula- The really bad one starring Winona Ryder and Keanu "DUDE!" Reaves. - There is a wedding scene in a chapel.

Although not a movie but, the show Six Foot Under had a scene in which Nick leads the Fisher family in prayer before dinner. The portryal was annoying, it played into the "look at the stupid ethnic" stereotype.

Again not a movie but TV- ER Dr. Luka Kovach says the lords prayer in Serbian and crosses himself in the orthodox style.
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« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2004, 12:15:48 PM »

ahh goran visnjic  Grin
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« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2004, 12:17:47 PM »

Dracula- The really bad one starring Winona Ryder and Keanu "DUDE!" Reaves. - There is a wedding scene in a chapel.

Although not a movie but, the show Six Foot Under had a scene in which Nick leads the Fisher family in prayer before dinner. The portryal was annoying, it played into the "look at the stupid ethnic" stereotype.

Again not a movie but TV- ER Dr. Luka Kovach says the lords prayer in Serbian and crosses himself in the orthodox style.

I thought Luka was Croatian.

At least that's what I remember him saying in an episode a few seasons ago.

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« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2004, 12:18:46 PM »

>>>Again not a movie but TV- ER Dr. Luka Kovach says the lords prayer in Serbian and crosses himself in the orthodox style.

Both Goran Visnjic and his character Luka Kovac are Croatian.  He prayed in Croatian as well (not that it's that much different than Serbian).
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« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2004, 12:19:22 PM »

He's got a set of rosary beads in one of the episodes.

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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2004, 12:22:12 PM »

>>Exorcist II: the Heretic
>>>I was under the imprssion that the Exorcist movies used an Eastern Catholic venue, not Orthodox (and I remember being angry that Greek was being used by these EC's  - as if there are THAT many Greek-speaking ECs.)

Huh?
The only Eastern Christianity depicted in EII:TH was in Ethiopia, and they certainly were not Byzantines.  What made you think they were Uniates, and Greek-speaking, at that?  (Maybe they were Ge'ez Uniates, but how would you know?)
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« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2004, 12:30:11 PM »

>>Exorcist II: the Heretic
>>>I was under the imprssion that the Exorcist movies used an Eastern Catholic venue, not Orthodox (and I remember being angry that Greek was being used by these EC's - as if there are THAT many Greek-speaking ECs.)

Huh?
The only Eastern Christianity depicted in EII:TH was in Ethiopia, and they certainly were not Byzantines. What made you think they were Uniates, and Greek-speaking, at that? (Maybe they were Ge'ez Uniates, but how would you know?)

No, LR, I don't think this of EII. My comment (unclear) was referring to the first movie. After seeing that one, once, I refused to view any sequels.

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« Reply #16 on: December 15, 2004, 12:37:46 PM »

Quote
The portryal was annoying, it played into the "look at the stupid ethnic" stereotype.

I disagree.  If anything, I think it portrayed the Fishers in a poor light, particularly afterwards when Claire and whatshisface were laughing about Nikolai in Claire's bedroom.
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« Reply #17 on: December 15, 2004, 12:49:40 PM »

One of the James Bond movies has a scene inside a church in I think St. Petersburg, but I watched it a long time ago so don't rightly recall.
For your eyes only made use of the monasteries on Meteora, but only the outside scenes IIRC. The inside scenes were not of anything I am familiar with there.
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« Reply #18 on: December 15, 2004, 12:52:55 PM »

There is a wonderful movie that came out in 1993 called 'My Life' with Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman.

Michael keaton plays the son of Ukrainian immigrants who was kind of ashamed of his background. His father was a hard working junk collector who was gone most of the day. Because of this, neither Michael or his brother were close to the father. Also, because his parents spoke with an accent Michael was always embarrased by them

Anyhow, when he grows up he changes his name to Bob Jones, gets married to Nicole Kidman, and makes it big in Hollywood. Around the same time he receives an invitation to his brothers wedding he finds out he has kidney cancer. His wife convinces to go back home for the wedding.

There is a scene of the outside of the church while a magnificant choir is singing selections from the Orthodox wedding service in English! There is also a scene in the inside of the church where they show the crowning ceremony and the walk around the Tetrapod. Another scene at the wedding reception where Michael and his brother do quite a traditional Ukrainian folk dance!

For those who have not seen it, rent it! Especially those who are 1st or 2nd generation Slavic Americans! It is an excellent movie. Only thing is....make sure you have a box of kleenex handy. I watched it with my neighbor who is a retired Philly Irish cop and he cried like a baby!

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« Reply #19 on: December 15, 2004, 12:56:31 PM »

[I was under the imprssion that the Exorcist movies used an Eastern Catholic venue, not Orthodox (and I remember being angry that Greek was being used by these EC's - as if there are THAT many Greek-speaking ECs.)]

Yes, in the first movie the young Fr James was depicted as being the son of Greek immigrants.  I was angry too.

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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2004, 12:58:40 PM »

Two classic additions to the list: Battleship Potemkin and Dr Zhivago. Neither makes the church look good: the priest is one of the villains in the former and at best useless in the latter. Sergei Eisenstein was making Soviet propaganda and did it very well and Boris Pasternak was a mild Communist himself.

While self-deprecating humour is a good thing, I think the depictions on TV in 'Taxi' and 'Seinfeld' are offensive - they give a lot of misinformation to outsiders about the Orthodox!

The depiction in Greek Wedding isn't flattering but probably true in a lot of cases - indifferent person joins to please wife and/or in-laws.
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« Reply #21 on: December 15, 2004, 01:02:32 PM »

Right you are Serge!
How could I forget my favorite movie of all time - Dr. Zhivago? I wasn't offended by the Church's depiction however.

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« Reply #22 on: December 15, 2004, 01:18:48 PM »


And? What does that have to do with a character he is playing in a movie?

It means he comes with a built-in parity error.

Actually, I thought the premise of the movie was that Hanks's character came from an ethinically ORthodox country.
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« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2004, 01:21:07 PM »

While I'm at it, I'll remark that while one sees Anglicans by default in a jillion movies, actual positive depictions of Anglican clerics are next to nonexistent. Negative ones, unfortunately, are not.
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« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2004, 01:40:06 PM »

Tom Hanks is a Greek Orthodox convert.

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Really?  That's cool; I like Tom Hanks Smiley.  Do you know if there's anyplace on the internet that talks about this?
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« Reply #25 on: December 15, 2004, 01:52:20 PM »

Quote
How could I forget my favorite movie of all time - Dr. Zhivago? I wasn't offended by the Church's depiction however.

The burial scene towards the beginning is fine but I was thinking of the only other scene AFAIK where the Church appears — Rod Steiger’s been forcing himself on Julie Christie and when she goes to Confession the priest seems to blame her! Foul!

Quote
It means he comes with a built-in parity error.

Right — one can hold him to a higher standard because he knows better than to misrepresent what's being portrayed.

Quote
Actually, I thought the premise of the movie was that Hanks's character came from an ethnically Orthodox country.

I haven't seen The Terminal but I understand that's the case. He's a Russian from an ex-Soviet country that literally disappears overnight, which is why he has to live in the airport — he can't go home and he isn't allowed into the US proper.

Quote
While I'm at it, I'll remark that while one sees Anglicans by default in a jillion movies, actual positive depictions of Anglican clerics are next to nonexistent. Negative ones, unfortunately, are not.

Like with many inaccurate depictions of RC priests or of many other ministers I remember innocuous and not really offensive make-believe Anglican bishops and priests, like the dear vicar in the American WWII propaganda film Mrs Miniver (depicting a strangely accented England I didn't recognize), David Niven's Episcopal bishop in the shockingly (to us) named The Bishop's Wife (where angel Cary Grant falls in love with the wife played by Loretta Young and bows out like the gentleman he was). Richard Burton played an Episcopal priest who freaks out and turns against God in some black-and-white movie.

Then there's the box: amazingly considering my beliefs I thought Dawn French's vicar Geraldine was cute in the OK but dumb 'The Vicar of Dibley' (early-series David Horton the village squire ruled though) and there was the sympathetic everyman vicar who had to put up with Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced 'bou-quet'!) in 'Keeping Up Appearances'.

I think mainline Christian ministers are often depicted as nice but ineffectual/irrelevant, like Rene Auberjonois' original Fr Mulcahy in the movie M*A*S*H. Fundygelical ones are one-note villains. Orthodox priests are seldom-seen props in ethnic-joke plots. ISTM rabbis get treated a little better than mainline Christians and are wise or witty.

Quote
That's cool; I like Tom Hanks. Do you know if there's anyplace on the internet that talks about this?

Yes — I haven't got the URL but Google and ye shall find a page with an interview with him about his religious history.
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« Reply #26 on: December 15, 2004, 01:57:41 PM »


Really? That's cool; I like Tom Hanks Smiley. Do you know if there's anyplace on the internet that talks about this?

Yeah, type in Tom Hanks Greek Orthodox and there are a few pages.  But it seems to have been a "for the wife" conversion (but then I am judging his heart).

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« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2004, 02:49:42 PM »



Yeah, type in Tom Hanks Greek Orthodox and there are a few pages. But it seems to have been a "for the wife" conversion (but then I am judging his heart).

Anastasios

I am not so certain about his motivation. I haven't read on it on the internet but recall his visit to either David Letterman's or Jay Leno's show in which he stated he converted after marriage. In perhaps atypical, for Hollywood, fashion he did not seem disposed to a lot of discussion about it. Sort of like Anthony Quinn's conversion, perhaps.

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« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2004, 02:53:46 PM »

Re: Dr. Zhivago
"Rod Steiger’s been forcing himself on Julie Christie and when she goes to Confession the priest seems to blame her! Foul!"

Maybe Serge. But I did like the priest's admonishment: "Remember, the flesh is not weak, it is strong. Only the Sacrament of Marriage can contain it" (or words to that effect). Right on the money.

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« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2004, 03:13:24 PM »

ahh goran visnjic Grin

He's a hottie.  :-D
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« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2004, 03:20:45 PM »

"ISTM rabbis get treated a little better than mainline Christians and are wise or witty."

Unless of course, your a rabbi on Seinfeld.  :-)
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« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2004, 04:55:46 PM »


For your eyes only made use of the monasteries on Meteora, but only the outside scenes IIRC. The inside scenes were not of anything I am familiar with there.

Bond movies:

For You Eyes Only - What Prodromos said, but also a scene where Q dresses up as a priest (with fake beard and the stole) and Bond enters a "confessional".  This happens during a wedding reception outside.

Goldeneye - Scene inside a church in St. Petersburg

The World is Not Enough - Scene where Elektra, the later to be revealed evil girl who is a rich heiress, goes into a cave church with some guy who looks like an Orthodox Bishop.  She puts on a veil, talks in some foreign language that probably sounds like Russian, and then comes out and makes a decree that the oil pipeline will go around the cave church and it will be saved.  This supposedly happens in Azerbaijan.

There may be others.
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« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2004, 05:45:52 PM »

IC XC NIKA
In a film called Deception, with Liam Neeson, there is a Coptic Orthodox priest censering the altar.
In that new film Daredevil (not very good), there is a small funeral with a Greek Orthodox priest, and deacons.
In the Omega Code, there is I think a Greek Orthodox bishop that hooks up with the Anti-Christ, and later turns him (Michael York) down.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, has a Greek Orthodox priest.
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« Reply #33 on: December 15, 2004, 06:28:10 PM »

>>>[I was under the imprssion that the Exorcist movies used an Eastern Catholic venue, not Orthodox (and I remember being angry that Greek was being used by these EC's - as if there are THAT many Greek-speaking ECs.)]

>>Yes, in the first movie the young Fr James was depicted as being the son of Greek immigrants.  I was angry too.


Do you mean Father Damien Karras?  It was apparent that his mother was a Greek immigrant (she was listening to a Greek-American radio broadcast in one scene), but it was not evident that Damien (a Jesuit, of course) was anything but a RC priest (aka a Latin Rite Uniate papal Catholic, I suppose).

What makes you angry about this?  Because if he was Greek he wasn't Orthodox?  Isn't that phyletism?
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« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2004, 07:04:52 PM »

Lemko Rusyn,

Wouldn't you be mad if a Rusyn turned Baptist?

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« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2004, 07:27:09 PM »

I'm surprised nobody yet has mentioned Tarkovsky's masterpiece Andrei Rublev - portrays monastic life extensively, which only makes sense considering it's a movie about a bunch of monks. I thought it was a very sympathetic portrayal as well - no wonder it was so heavily censored during Soviet times.
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« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2004, 07:41:51 PM »

I'll second Captain Corelli's Mandolin, excellent movie.

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« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2004, 08:02:23 PM »

How could nobody have mentioned "Horror Express", with Telly Savalas?

It's about how "An English anthropologist has discovered a frozen monster in the frozen wastes of Manchuria which he believes may be the Missing Link. He brings the creature back to Europe aboard a trans-Siberian express, but during the trip the monster thaws out and starts to butcher the passengers one by one."

Taken from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0068713/plotsummary

It had an Orthodox Monk (or was it a priest?) who although he resisted this evil creature's power (which turned out to be the devil), eventually he decided to join the dark side and referred to this creature as his "master" and did his bidding.

Not a very shining example to be sure.

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« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2004, 08:56:37 PM »

Quote
How could nobody have mentioned "Horror Express", with Telly Savalas?

It's about how "An English anthropologist has discovered a frozen monster in the frozen wastes of Manchuria which he believes may be the Missing Link. He brings the creature back to Europe aboard a trans-Siberian express, but during the trip the monster thaws out and starts to butcher the passengers one by one."

Sounds quite interesting. I might just have to rent it & kick back with some popcorn & soda pop... Cool
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« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2004, 09:37:26 PM »

Also, how could everyone forget Zorba the Greek?

As for:

Quote
Tom Hanks is a Greek Orthodox convert.

Demetri
Really? That's cool; I like Tom Hanks . Do you know if there's anyplace on the internet that talks about this?

Tom Hanks prays at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Sophia in Los Angeles located at:

1324 South Normandie Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006


Here is the link to the Church’s website.


http://www.stsophia.org/

My brother also prays at the Church and has seen Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson (whose real name is Margarita Ibrahimov) attending there a number of times with their children. After the Liturgy, Tom and his family usually go have lunch at a Greek bakery shop that is walking distance from the Church. Amazingly, nobody actually bothers Tom Hanks with autographs when they are at the Church or the bakery.

By the way, this is the same Church that Tele Savalis used to attend.
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« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2004, 10:18:10 PM »

Also, how could everyone forget Zorba the Greek?

As for:
Tom Hanks prays at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Sophia in Los Angeles located at:

1324 South Normandie Ave
Los Angeles,  CA 90006


Here is the link to the Church’s website.


http://www.stsophia.org/

My brother also prays at the Church and has seen Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson (whose real name is Margarita Ibrahimov) attending there a number of times with their children. After the Liturgy, Tom and his family usually go have lunch at a Greek bakery shop that is walking distance from the Church. Amazingly, nobody actually bothers Tom Hanks with autographs when they are at the Church or the bakery.

By the way, this is the same Church that Tele Savalis used to attend.
Excuse if me if this seems impolite, but what is an altar rail doing in that Orthodox church?
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« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2004, 10:25:34 PM »

IC XC NIKA
Oh, how could I forget Fiddler on the Roof
Russian Orthodox priest (with a cheap fake beard), and I suppose a deacon maybe?
With all love and peace
copticorthodoxboy
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« Reply #42 on: December 15, 2004, 10:27:19 PM »

I took the photo tour of St. Sophia Cathedral ( http://www.stsophia.org/photo.asp ) and it really is a beautiful church.

Much more appealing to the eyes than Cardinal Mahoney's monstrosity that poses as a "cathedral".

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By the way, this is the same Church that Tele Savalis used to attend.

I was going to ask if Telly Savalas was Orthodox and if he practiced the faith, but I guess the above info answered my question before I even asked it. Smiley

In Christ,
Aaron
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« Reply #43 on: December 15, 2004, 10:32:05 PM »

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Excuse if me if this seems impolite, but what is an altar rail doing in that Orthodox church?

I do not believe this is a true altar rail, at least in the idea of how a Roman Catholic (Not that modern Roman Catholic churches really have them anymore anyways), or Anglican/Episcopalian would view it, or use it, because Orthodox do not kneel to receive the Holy Gifts. From the church's schedule, it looks liek they have a lot of tours come through the church, so maybe it is in place to keep peopel from wandering up to the iconostasis, because if they got that far, they might try to get into the altar area.

That is what I thought anyways, maybe there is another practical reason for it? I noticed that St. Markella's in Astoria has a similar "altar rail" too.

In Christ,
Aaron

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« Reply #44 on: December 15, 2004, 10:35:56 PM »

[Excuse if me if this seems impolite, but what is an altar rail doing in that Orthodox church?]

It's not an Altar Rail as is known in the pre Vatican II RCC that separated the Nave from the Sanctuary. In an Orthodox Church it separates the Nave from the Solea. The Iconostasis separates the Nave from the Sanctuary.

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