Author Topic: The ideal iconostasis  (Read 4468 times)

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Offline Alpha60

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The ideal iconostasis
« on: February 10, 2019, 05:41:30 PM »
I really dislike modern, over-revealing iconostases.

My favorite iconostases are full height in the case of Russian churches, or 7-10 ft in the case of any church where the half dome of the apse is used for iconography (although iconography in the apse has to be careful; a good icon of the Theotokos is a blessing, but some icons really overdo it, for example the icon of the OCA parish in Wilkes-Barre, PA; conversely St. George’s Southgate Greek Orthodox Church doesn’t have enough going on, a mere decorative motif of vines plus some light iconography; St. Mary of Livonia is more successful, but the best examples are Byzantine style churches, such as those in ravenna, where the apse is gilded and has icons of our Lord and multiple saints).  Ideally these iconostasis should, in churches oriented to the East, Southeast, or South, prevent any blinding light from the sun from entering the nave, indeed, windows in the apse should be designed to illuminate the half dome of the apse, if so equipped, or otherwise provide diffuse lighting; this principle also applies in churches pointing due West at latitudes where Vespers might be celebrated during Sunset (which is a very good argument for avoiding westward-facing churches; liturgical east should ideally point east or northeast, so that the Divine Liturgy and Vespers do not suffer from any unpleasant excess of light from the windows).  Ideally the iconostasis should have full height curtains and deacon’s doors, but I like royal doors which are gilded metal, with ornate icons on panels, so that the altar is only hidden from view when the curtains are closed.

Alternatively, some of the Coptic iconostases in Old Cairo and the monasteries are stunning and unique.  Some feature unique touches, like windows, so the priests can see the congregation before opening the curtains.  A few Coptic churches have doors, but most have curtains.  In most Coptic services, the curtains are opened throughout; this annoys me as I prefer the Byzantine and Syriac rubrics wherein the curtains and doors are opened and closed at different points in the service.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 05:44:31 PM by Alpha60 »

Council of Nicea:
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2019, 06:22:31 PM »
In most Coptic services, the curtains are opened throughout; this annoys me as I prefer the Byzantine and Syriac rubrics wherein the curtains and doors are opened and closed at different points in the service.

Not always, not so easy (regarding Byzantine rites).



I like low or medium stone iconostases (or from similar material) with curtains (that clour varies on the liturgical season), roal doors and doors for deacons - not necesarraly. With 1 or 2 rows (the 1st one for Christ, Theotokos, patron of the temple plus another patron/venerated saint; if the 2nd one is here, Mystical Supper above the royal curtain and festal icons, 12 great feasts plus Holy Week, Lazarus Saturday). Below the 1st row some mosaics or stone crosses or other ornaments.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2019, 06:44:11 PM »
What's my favorite iconostasis? Trick question, a communion rail. In lieu of that, a screen with a curtain. Hopefully lattice instead of solid wood.

The iconostases that go all the way up to the ceiling, making the altar a seperate room, make me feel like I'm not really participating. I know I am, but it doesn't feel that way.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2019, 06:44:50 PM »
3 rows is good for me.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2019, 07:43:21 PM »
I really dislike modern, over-revealing iconostases.

My favorite iconostases are full height in the case of Russian churches, or 7-10 ft in the case of any church where the half dome of the apse is used for iconography (although iconography in the apse has to be careful; a good icon of the Theotokos is a blessing, but some icons really overdo it, for example the icon of the OCA parish in Wilkes-Barre, PA; conversely St. George’s Southgate Greek Orthodox Church doesn’t have enough going on, a mere decorative motif of vines plus some light iconography; St. Mary of Livonia is more successful, but the best examples are Byzantine style churches, such as those in ravenna, where the apse is gilded and has icons of our Lord and multiple saints).  Ideally these iconostasis should, in churches oriented to the East, Southeast, or South, prevent any blinding light from the sun from entering the nave, indeed, windows in the apse should be designed to illuminate the half dome of the apse, if so equipped, or otherwise provide diffuse lighting; this principle also applies in churches pointing due West at latitudes where Vespers might be celebrated during Sunset (which is a very good argument for avoiding westward-facing churches; liturgical east should ideally point east or northeast, so that the Divine Liturgy and Vespers do not suffer from any unpleasant excess of light from the windows).  Ideally the iconostasis should have full height curtains and deacon’s doors, but I like royal doors which are gilded metal, with ornate icons on panels, so that the altar is only hidden from view when the curtains are closed.

Alternatively, some of the Coptic iconostases in Old Cairo and the monasteries are stunning and unique.  Some feature unique touches, like windows, so the priests can see the congregation before opening the curtains.  A few Coptic churches have doors, but most have curtains.  In most Coptic services, the curtains are opened throughout; this annoys me as I prefer the Byzantine and Syriac rubrics wherein the curtains and doors are opened and closed at different points in the service.

What do you think?
The purpose of the icon screen is not to conceal but to provide a place to hang the icons and demarcate the altar and keep the people from encroaching on it so that the clergy may move about freely and do their job.  Any other claim is nonsense.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 08:52:26 PM »
The ideal iconostasis fits the style of the church.

Greek churches as a rule don't enclose the altar completely - the Platytera in the apse is meant to be seen by everyone, after all. One of my neighbourhood churches in Athens has a lovely white marble iconostasis that is low enough for those sitting in the balcony to be able to see down into the sanctuary.

As a result, I'm more particular about material than height. I'm not too fond of gilded wood, and natural wood looks better to me once the years have taken away the initial polish. I've only been to one church with a dark wood iconostasis, and that, in addition to its architecture making the space under the dome quite dark as well, made for a rather foreboding effect. Older churches with a plasterwork iconostasis can look quaint, though I imagine it can take a lot of maintenance to keep perfectly white.

On the other hand, one of my absolute favourite sacred spaces is the chapel in the Athens airport, which is completely open-plan, with the icons on glass panels. (Yes, the preference includes the iconography style as well.)

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2019, 09:47:26 PM »
The purpose of the icon screen is not to conceal but to provide a place to hang the icons and demarcate the altar and keep the people from encroaching on it so that the clergy may move about freely and do their job.  Any other claim is nonsense.

+1  This is why icon screens evolved in the first place.  Unfortunately, in my view, allegorical interpretations (which some people equate with being little less than Gospel truth) have evolved which see the altar area as mirroring the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament or as the Kingdom of Heaven which must be concealed at times from people in order to evoke salvation history etc.  IMHO all this has suceeded in doing is disenfranchising laypeople, and encouraged them to be spiritually lazy.  (For example, if the priest announces "Holy things are for the Holy!" during the liturgy while elevating the consecrated bread and none of the laity can see it because of a curtain, many of them will not feel connected to the moment or see the need for reverence.)  Please note that I am not saying that we should treat the altar area casually.  I think that only people who have a job to do there should be in the altar.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 09:53:32 PM by Pravoslavbob »
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Offline Alpha60

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2019, 10:06:14 PM »
In most Coptic services, the curtains are opened throughout; this annoys me as I prefer the Byzantine and Syriac rubrics wherein the curtains and doors are opened and closed at different points in the service.

Not always, not so easy (regarding Byzantine rites).



I like low or medium stone iconostases (or from similar material) with curtains (that clour varies on the liturgical season), roal doors and doors for deacons - not necesarraly. With 1 or 2 rows (the 1st one for Christ, Theotokos, patron of the temple plus another patron/venerated saint; if the 2nd one is here, Mystical Supper above the royal curtain and festal icons, 12 great feasts plus Holy Week, Lazarus Saturday). Below the 1st row some mosaics or stone crosses or other ornaments.
That's all.

What you described sounds like my model of an ideal Antiochian/Greek/Romanian/South Slavic iconostasis.  Especially changing the colors of the curtain for the liturgical occasion, blue curtains for Marian feasts and the Dormition fast, purple curtains for Lent, black or dark red for Holy Week, dark red for the Apostles Fast and Advent fast, green on Palm Sunday, Pentecost, All Saints Day and select feasts of confessors, Gold on other occasions and white for feasts of our Lord and especially Pascha.  But the curtains need to be good quality.  I saw a ROCA parish that had a very fine dark red curtain for use in Lent, a black one for Holy Week and a white one for Pascha, but their green curtain for Palm Sunday, Pentecost and the Sundays after Pentecost looked horribly cheap, like a shower curtain.

So where a parish can’t afford beautiful curtains for all seasons, I can understand, in which case I would urge them to just go with fine dark red curtains and gold or white curtains.

~

That said, for purposes of Russian and Ukrainian churches and churches of the North Eastern Slavic peoples, I love a towering iconostasis with five or more rows.  These iconostases to me convey a sense of the uncircumscribed and incomprehensible divine essence, and remind us we can only know  God through his uncreated energies.  Sort of an architectural icon of the theology of the Hesychasts and St. Gregory the Theologian.  When the curtain is opened this symbolizes the economy of salvation and the prospect of Theosis; the beautiful altar conveys a sense of the direct interaction with the divine presence promised in the World to Come.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2019, 10:21:30 PM »
The ideal iconostasis fits the style of the church.

Greek churches as a rule don't enclose the altar completely - the Platytera in the apse is meant to be seen by everyone, after all. One of my neighbourhood churches in Athens has a lovely white marble iconostasis that is low enough for those sitting in the balcony to be able to see down into the sanctuary.

As a result, I'm more particular about material than height. I'm not too fond of gilded wood, and natural wood looks better to me once the years have taken away the initial polish. I've only been to one church with a dark wood iconostasis, and that, in addition to its architecture making the space under the dome quite dark as well, made for a rather foreboding effect.


There are some exquisitely carved Coptic iconostases that I think you would like, which do have a mixture of dark and light wood, yet which are not ominous or foreboding.

That said, the midnight liturgies at Elder Ephrem’s monastery in Florence, AZ, were held in near darkness, lit only by the vigil lamps on the icons, the candelabra on the Holy Table, and a few other lights; the narthex with its rows of candles lit by the faithful was incredibly bright in comparison.

The nave however had what you might call dazzling darkness; it was foreboding until one approached it in the sense of St. Dionysius the Aereopagite.  It also felt like the ultimate refreshment and final deliverance from years of subjection to happy-clappy degenerated Protestant worship; these services were so beautiful and so antithetical to that that even though I had been Orthodox for about three years by then, it felt like a cathartic, purifying experience of supreme delivery from all Protestant error as much as my first few liturgies also felt that way.

Quote

Older churches with a plasterwork iconostasis can look quaint, though I imagine it can take a lot of maintenance to keep perfectly white.

On the other hand, one of my absolute favourite sacred spaces is the chapel in the Athens airport, which is completely open-plan, with the icons on glass panels. (Yes, the preference includes the iconography style as well.)



I really love that chapel.  Do they actually serve liturgies there, however?  It looks like it would be an extreme pain to do anything other than Orthros or Vespers in that space. 

As I see it, small chapels not used for the Divine Liturgy do not require iconostases, and one could argue they might not need a consecrated altar; rather it might be better to have them equipped with a wall of icons in the Old Believer priestless style and a simple shelf, so that they can be used easily for reader services (although I’ve heard that in Greece, the absolute prohibition on laics touching the altar enforced in Russia is not in effect).  I have seen a fair number of Greek chapels which consist of a wall of icons on the back, and an altar-like shelf where candles, etc. can be placed, and also Elder Ephrem’s monastery features such a chapel outdoors.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 10:21:50 PM by Alpha60 »

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2019, 10:43:15 PM »
The purpose of the icon screen is not to conceal but to provide a place to hang the icons and demarcate the altar and keep the people from encroaching on it so that the clergy may move about freely and do their job.  Any other claim is nonsense.

+1  This is why icon screens evolved in the first place.  Unfortunately, in my view, allegorical interpretations (which some people equate with being little less than Gospel truth) have evolved which see the altar area as mirroring the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament or as the Kingdom of Heaven which must be concealed at times from people in order to evoke salvation history etc.  IMHO all this has suceeded in doing is disenfranchising laypeople, and encouraged them to be spiritually lazy.  (For example, if the priest announces "Holy things are for the Holy!" during the liturgy while elevating the consecrated bread and none of the laity can see it because of a curtain, many of them will not feel connected to the moment or see the need for reverence.)  Please note that I am not saying that we should treat the altar area casually.  I think that only people who have a job to do there should be in the altar.

I disagree entirely that the iconostasis results in spiritual lethargy, based on my experience in liturgically maximalist ROCOR and monastic churches where “Holy things are for the Holy” is a moment that evokes extreme reverence.

Rather, I think the full iconostasis facilitates maximum reverence, and that laity need to be reminded that it is a special privilege to see what occurs in the altar; this is why the Holy Doors are opened throughout Bright Week, as a special blessing on the laity.  Conversely, to symbolize the expulsion of the faithful from the Garden of Eden, the Armenian liturgy leaves the curtain closed throughout Lent (they used to have a Presanctified liturgy at which one would assume the laity were communicated in keeping with the generally accepted ancient principle of high-frequency Lenten communion, but this unfortunately fell out of use, so only the priest gets communicated in Lent; this requires rectification).

Also it should be stressed that the curtain to conceal the sanctuary predates the iconostasis and is a universal feature of churches in the Middle East.  The presence of these curtains in Assyrian, Armenian, Syriac, Greek, Coptic, and Ethiopian churches, as well as, according to several accounts, on some Rood Screens in the West (which were mostly removed in the Counter Revolution due to pressure from the Dominicans and especially the Fransicans, who did not have them in their churches), proves their ancient provenance, and it is widely believed the templon in the Hagia Sophia had a curtain.

Indeed we can trace this back to the Fourth Century at least, because we have a letter from St. Epiphanius in which he mentions paying for a church he visited to order a new curtain, as he tore down their old curtain owing to it featuring an icon he deemed inappropriate (this letter is popularly abused by Protestants in an effort to “prove” St. Epiphanius was iconoclastic).

~

Lastly I would observe that some of the ideology that seems to be driving your post is related to the old Liturgical Movement’s call for a more “active” liturgical participation, which in turn led to the disaster that was the Novus Ordo, and the subsequent destruction of liturgical reverence in the RCC.  It particularly worries me seeing my friend Deacon Lance seemingly leaning in such a direction given the severe damage done to the Latin Rite community by that attitude.  I mean, its pretty evident Cardinal Bugnini and company were also convinced the faithful were “spiritually lazy,” and lacked a proper appreciation for interior participation.

I suggest you read the book Liturgical Reform After Vatican II: The Impact on Eastern Orthodoxy, in which the author, despite heaping praise upon Fr. Schmemann and especially on New Skete, was forced to admit the success of ROCOR’s liturgical maximalism, even though it clearly pained him greatly to do so, and he would have preferred a radical Novus Ordo style reform of the Byzantine Rite.  Indeed the author talks about a perceived need to emphasize the role of the laity as “priests, prophets and kings” on virtually every page, which becomes tiresome, except in the chapter on ROCOR, where he is essentially forced to admit that a church which, if it reacted at all, reacted in the opposite direction to what he desired, nonetheless managed to cultivate impressive liturgical piety.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2019, 10:44:21 PM »

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2019, 11:19:37 PM »
My view has nothing to do with liturgical participation, since Ruthenians are congregational singers that is not an issue.  It is based on liturgical history.  The original use of the curtain, in the Byzantine Rite, aside from being drawn when the altar was not in use, cannot be known.  Rubrics for the curtains and doors enter the Liturgicon very late.

I do not care if an icon screen is two icons, one tier or floor to ceiling or has a curtain or not.  Those are all tolerable differences of style.  I do object to the allegorization or the pseudo-mystification of the Liturgy.  The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety.  What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha.  In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2019, 12:14:36 AM »
Why stop with a wimpy curtain? Roll a massive icon of Christ the High Priest across it like my parish does for Presanctified Liturgies after the Great Entrance  :D
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2019, 01:01:03 AM »
My view has nothing to do with liturgical participation, since Ruthenians are congregational singers that is not an issue.  It is based on liturgical history.  The original use of the curtain, in the Byzantine Rite, aside from being drawn when the altar was not in use, cannot be known.  Rubrics for the curtains and doors enter the Liturgicon very late.

I do not care if an icon screen is two icons, one tier or floor to ceiling or has a curtain or not.  Those are all tolerable differences of style.  I do object to the allegorization or the pseudo-mystification of the Liturgy.  The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety.  What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha.  In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

You’ve just raised a litany of objections straight from the Liturgical Movement all of which are questionable.  For example, while I do not object to vocalization of the Byzantine rite liturgy in all cases, this vocalization is clearly a departure from established tradition.  I do emphatically object to it in the context of Russian and Ukrainian liturgics as well as other liturgies where the music is of a certain standard as it interferes with the liturgical music; the sole exception perhaps being the Little Litany.   There are also some compromises available which work well on this issue, such as having the priest quietly but not inaudibly recite the prayers, where the parish has a rear choir loft, so that people who wish to hear them can stand in the solea. However, it also creates an imposition on clergy and increases the risk of laryngitis for priests who are unused to it.  So this is an issue where I feel individual parish practice can legitimately accomodate variation.  However, I am adamantly opposed to pausing the liturgical music so the prayers can be heard (for example, reciting the prayers of the three Antiphons betwixt the antiphon and the Little Litany, or introducing long pauses in the music of the Anaphora for this purpose).

For people who want to hear the majority of the Anaphora sung, the Coptic Church and the Syriac Orthodox Church, and their Eastern Catholic doppelgangers, and the Maronites, provide this amenity.  The Coptic Tasbeha chant encompasses virtually everything the priest intones, but even with the curtain open and the priest praying everything aloud, a lot of secret stuff is still occurring in the altar, including carefully concealed actions with the instruments used to do the Coptic equivalent of Prothesis, which are concealed in a bundle when not in use, the veiling of the entire Holy Table for much of the liturgy, and the Coptic Priest hopping around the altar twelve times during one of the Psalms.

In the Syriac liturgy much more of the actions of the priest are visible, but the some prayers are said quietly, although the greater portion are sung.  Indeed I daresay Syriac Orthodox priests compete on their singing ability, and I like it.  I remember Fr. Shara and a visiting priest singing a duet after the Qurbana in 2013, which was so much fun to see.

~

Or alternately, you could remain within Carpathian-Ruthenian-Lemko Christianity, which in both its Catholic and Orthodox forms, seems to abhorr a full iconostasis.  I attribute this to the severe Latinization of the Ruthenian liturgy, but unfortunately unlike most of the Latinizations, it has not been reversed in the wake of Vatican II (which seemed to take the approach of delatinizing except where the Latinization agreed with “the Spirit of Vatican II”).  So in a sense you have what you want, especially in terms of the vernacular (the Teal Horror, for instance, which I will discuss further), but Ruthenian Catholic practices should never become normative for the rest of the Byzantine Rite.  It would be on a par with those annoying people who want to suppress the Obikhod and all other forms of Ukrainian and Russian four part harmony, and even Znamenny Chant, in favor of enforced Byzantine Chant.  And such people do exist.  Indeed the beautiful tradition of polyphonic Greek Orthodox music and the Ionian organ music is seriously endangered due to this one-sided liturgical zealotry.

On the subject of liturgical languages, these preserve a common understanding among people who speak multiple vernacular languages, as in Latin or Church Slavonic, or in the case of Coptic preserve cultural heritage and make the liturgy more beautiful.  In the Byzantine rite, I myself actively seek to avoid vernacular English liturgies because the English language translations are usually inferior, and I know the words of the service anyway.  Likewise I prefer a Latin mass to an English mass.  And I prefer traditional English services to modern English.  Fr. John Whiteford wrote an article in defense of silent prayers, and another article in defense of liturgical languages, which you can read on his blog:

https://fatherjohn.blogspot.com

I should also note Fr. John has the best liturgical resources page on the Net after the demise of Fr. Aidan Keller’s wonderful Occidentalis site, here: http://www.saintjonah.org/services/

In general my liturgical philosophy is the same, or as close as possible, to Fr. John Whiteford, when it comes to the essential details of the presentation of the services.  I would observe that the Ruthenian Catholics in the US for that matter could have spared themselves a lot of horror and some defections to the OCA and ACROD had they followed those principles, and not inflicted on us the loathesome hymnal known as the “Teal Horror” (does the Sacred Congregation of Rites have a rubber stamp on Eastern Catholic liturgical books, or is it all under the Congregation for the Eastern Churches?).

~

By the way old chap, if you know of any really high quality albums of Prostopinije in Church Slavonic, preferrably from the Old Country, I would be all over them, because my efforts to find good quality recordings of Prostopinije have so far yielded a bilingual album of Christmas hymns and a set of albums from a Central European seminary with serious audio issues.  ACROD’s cathedral either has a choir that can’t sing, a completely broken sound system, or a combination thereof.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 01:04:16 AM by Alpha60 »

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2019, 01:04:46 AM »
Why stop with a wimpy curtain? Roll a massive icon of Christ the High Priest across it like my parish does for Presanctified Liturgies after the Great Entrance  :D

Ooooh I like this!  :)

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2019, 01:27:12 AM »
There are also some compromises available which work well on this issue, such as having the priest quietly but not inaudibly recite the prayers,

In a church with respectable acoustics, it doesn't matter whether the choir is in the nave or upstairs.

so that people who wish to hear them can stand in the solea.

Only if they're clergy or altar servers .....  :P ::)
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2019, 02:17:40 AM »
I've attended services in churches with high iconostases containing multiple rows of icons but my 'home' church has a low iconostasis with fairly openly spaces between the one row of icons and no curtain. As a worshiper, it seems to me that both types of iconostasis have advantages and disadvantages.

In my own church I like being able to see the preparatory work at the side table and the incensing of the altar area fairly clearly. But when at a church with a high iconostasis I appreciate not being able to see all of the activity involved with filling incense burners, lighting candles, bringing water, lining up for processions, people giving instructions to new servers and the like.

What I value most about the low iconostasis in my 'home' church is that all of the icons on it were painted by members of the congregation. We're fortunate to have some very skilled icon painters.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2019, 02:40:13 AM »
I think: deaf or high iconostasis, deaf (without through holes) Royal Gates. In dark colors, as in the Trinity Church of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra, for example.

One of the advantages of a closed altar, which is not discussed here - it is easier to heat ))

As for reading aloud secret prayers (in line with the so - called liturgical revival) - these prayers for the priest (and co-workers with him). Reading them aloud to all the people is nonsense, they are not intended for this. If I find it, give a link.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2019, 04:02:44 AM »
I've attended services in churches with high iconostases containing multiple rows of icons but my 'home' church has a low iconostasis with fairly openly spaces between the one row of icons and no curtain. As a worshiper, it seems to me that both types of iconostasis have advantages and disadvantages.

In my own church I like being able to see the preparatory work at the side table and the incensing of the altar area fairly clearly. But when at a church with a high iconostasis I appreciate not being able to see all of the activity involved with filling incense burners, lighting candles, bringing water, lining up for processions, people giving instructions to new servers and the like.

What I value most about the low iconostasis in my 'home' church is that all of the icons on it were painted by members of the congregation. We're fortunate to have some very skilled icon painters.

I’ve never seen the Prothesis except in videos.  I have often felt however that one legitimate innovation would be in a square profiled church, that has a “Chapel of Preparation” on one side of the main altar and a Vestry on the other, the Table of Preparation could be behind a curtain which could be opened during the Prothesis. 

Or better yet, if a new Cathedral were built for serving the Cathedral Typikon, this could be equipped with a Skeuophylakion in the manner of the Hagia Sophia, open to the laity, wherein the baking and preparation of the prosphora could be observed (I do think it best the vestry/sacristry remain private however; bishops vest in the nave but only with assistance, and it could be very awkward if a priest with arthritis or a younger altar server had difficulty vesting).

I somewhat lean towards the view however that it might be ideal that women outside of monasteries not be permitted to view an actual Prothesis due to the very severe sense of the liturgical sacrifice therein.  For that matter, preserving the sanctity and dignity of the Proskomide is one of the main reasons I object to the ordination of women to any role beyond the rank of the ancient Deaconesses, who were assistants at the Font but not the Altar.  I would not want to encounter a woman who had the mental disposition to perform the Liturgy of Preparation or the other aspects of the Holy Sacrifice of the Divine Liturgy, or the equivalents in other rites.  Stabbing the Lamb with the liturgical spear for example.  It would not be conducive to the model of female piety; there are moments in the liturgy such as the removal of the Epitaphios from the Cross where I expect the pious women, based on experience, to be profoundly moved, and for tears to flow from members of both genders. 

But it seems somehow indecent to put a woman in the position of watching the Body of Our Lord or what will become the Body of Our Lord in the Epiklesis, the sacred Lamb, stabbed and cut in the Proskomide.  Indeed I suspect there are theological-pastoral reasons why traditionally this entire liturgy is hidden from the laity.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2019, 04:15:01 AM »


Or better yet, if a new Cathedral were built for serving the Cathedral Typikon, this could be equipped with a Skeuophylakion in the manner of the Hagia Sophia, open to the laity, wherein the baking and preparation of the prosphora could be observed 

Since when has prosphoro baking ever been conducted in a church?  :o :o
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2019, 05:11:22 AM »


Or better yet, if a new Cathedral were built for serving the Cathedral Typikon, this could be equipped with a Skeuophylakion in the manner of the Hagia Sophia, open to the laity, wherein the baking and preparation of the prosphora could be observed 

Since when has prosphoro baking ever been conducted in a church?  :o :o

My Coptic parish in Simi Valley baked prosphora and antidoron in the church; the antidoron went in the oven about midway through the anaphora filling the nave with a sweet aroma of baking bread and incense.

But the Hagia Sophia used an outbuilding for this purpose.  And if you don’t believe me, go to your library and check out some books on liturgical studies and the history of the liturgy.  Robert Taft, Paul Bradshaw and Maxwell Johnson are your friends.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2019, 05:28:13 AM »
Quote
But the Hagia Sophia used an outbuilding for this purpose.

Whether or not the skevophylakion was also a bakehouse, you've proved my point. An outbuilding is not a church.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2019, 05:50:58 AM »
Why stop with a wimpy curtain? Roll a massive icon of Christ the High Priest across it like my parish does for Presanctified Liturgies after the Great Entrance  :D

Ooooh I like this!  :)

Most Greek churches are like that.

As far as I know, the airport chapel altar is not consecrated - as the space is open to anyone, it would be sacrilege waiting to happen. There are no scheduled services, but I presume it would be possible to arrange for one, though the logistics wouldn't be easy.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #23 on: February 11, 2019, 12:55:13 PM »
The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety. 

+1

Quote
What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha. 

In our tradition, we regard every Liturgy, no matter the day, as Pascha.

Quote
In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

#baumstark
Good and messy.

Quote
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2019, 01:33:58 PM »
The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety. 

+1

Quote
What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha. 

In our tradition, we regard every Liturgy, no matter the day, as Pascha.

Yeah and my mother loved this when she was attending the EO services in Lebanon (as many other things, btw).


In most Coptic services, the curtains are opened throughout; this annoys me as I prefer the Byzantine and Syriac rubrics wherein the curtains and doors are opened and closed at different points in the service.

Not always, not so easy (regarding Byzantine rites).



I like low or medium stone iconostases (or from similar material) with curtains (that clour varies on the liturgical season), roal doors and doors for deacons - not necesarraly. With 1 or 2 rows (the 1st one for Christ, Theotokos, patron of the temple plus another patron/venerated saint; if the 2nd one is here, Mystical Supper above the royal curtain and festal icons, 12 great feasts plus Holy Week, Lazarus Saturday). Below the 1st row some mosaics or stone crosses or other ornaments.
That's all.

What you described sounds like my model of an ideal Antiochian/Greek/Romanian/South Slavic iconostasis.
I was aware of this while writing ;)

  Especially changing the colors of the curtain for the liturgical occasion
That's what my parish in Poland does. And we haver iconostasis inherited after Russians.

So where a parish can’t afford beautiful curtains for all seasons, I can understand, in which case I would urge them to just go with fine dark red curtains and gold or white curtains.
That's what it's done at my current parish in Lebanon: only red and white, it seems.

That said, for purposes of Russian and Ukrainian churches and churches of the North Eastern Slavic peoples, I love a towering iconostasis with five or more rows. 
As for Poland, we've always had various traditions regarding church architecture, including iconostasis. So, after the time of Russian occupation and Russian-Ukrainian fashion in village churchers, there are more and more churches that are something medium between South Slavic and Eastern Slavic style regarding iconostasis, and I think it's our proper tradition.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2019, 02:10:22 PM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2019, 04:07:24 PM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?

I think it's well made but the waist-high deacon doors seem strange. What's the point of doors if one can always see through them?

Otherwise, lovely craftsmanship. Rather cozy.

This is one of my favorite iconostases:



I honestly prefer the closed off ones, generally. I think it makes the altar feel more sacred.
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2019, 09:12:24 PM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?

Fail.

Thoughts on this arrangement?

I think it's well made but the waist-high deacon doors seem strange. What's the point of doors if one can always see through them?

Otherwise, lovely craftsmanship. Rather cozy.

This is one of my favorite iconostases:



I honestly prefer the closed off ones, generally. I think it makes the altar feel more sacred.

That is epic; this is exactly the sort of iconostasis I love.  It slices across the boundary of the altar like a lance, calling the faithful to piety and preserving the sanctity.

And there is a profound mystical quality of an iconostasis, hidden behind a great cloud of incense, at those moments when the curtain is open, the doors are open and one can catch a glimpse theough the holy fog of the altar on the other sidel that is profoundly evocative of the promise of the eschaton, the world to come in which the laity will be united with God inside a mystical altar that no longer requires an iconostasis.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #28 on: February 11, 2019, 09:13:54 PM »
The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety. 

+1

Quote
What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha. 

In our tradition, we regard every Liturgy, no matter the day, as Pascha.

Quote
In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

#baumstark

Does the Indian Orthodox Church ignore the rubrics in the liturgy concerning the veiling of the sanctuary?

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #29 on: February 11, 2019, 09:15:35 PM »
Quote
But the Hagia Sophia used an outbuilding for this purpose.

Whether or not the skevophylakion was also a bakehouse, you've proved my point. An outbuilding is not a church.

No, because I have cited an example of an Oriental Orthodox church wherein the baking of the Eucharistic bread occurs in the same building. 

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #30 on: February 11, 2019, 09:16:03 PM »
The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety. 

+1

Quote
What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha. 

In our tradition, we regard every Liturgy, no matter the day, as Pascha.

Quote
In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

#baumstark

Does the Indian Orthodox Church ignore the rubrics in the liturgy concerning the veiling of the sanctuary?

Which rubrics?
Good and messy.

Quote
Oh you Greeks, you are all dumb!

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #31 on: February 11, 2019, 09:20:24 PM »
Why stop with a wimpy curtain? Roll a massive icon of Christ the High Priest across it like my parish does for Presanctified Liturgies after the Great Entrance  :D

Ooooh I like this!  :)

Most Greek churches are like that.

As far as I know, the airport chapel altar is not consecrated - as the space is open to anyone, it would be sacrilege waiting to happen. There are no scheduled services, but I presume it would be possible to arrange for one, though the logistics wouldn't be easy.

Very good.  I really like that chapel.

Alas I wish the airport would allow an “airport chaplain” who could be a deacon or subdeacon or a seminarian, or a monk of high regard, who might be comissioned to offer the Divine Office throughout the day; if he did that, with periodic breaks to eat, if you deleted certain routine abbreviations, there is enough so the chapel would continuously have services.

But since this is impractical, just having it is very good, and I really love the architecture of that chapel.

We had a very nice thread btw on Orthodox chapels going which we need to necromance, because that thread had an awesome collection of photos.  Recently I found a Wikipedia article on one of the chapels mentioned in that thread, which is the high altitude chapel on Mount Olympus.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #32 on: February 11, 2019, 09:24:51 PM »
The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety. 

+1

Quote
What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha. 

In our tradition, we regard every Liturgy, no matter the day, as Pascha.

Quote
In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

#baumstark

Does the Indian Orthodox Church ignore the rubrics in the liturgy concerning the veiling of the sanctuary?

Which rubrics?

I shall just look at your service books and compare them with my diocesan service books and those on Syriac Orthodox Resources.

But not with a view that the IOC is doing anything wrong by the way; the Copts leave the curtain open (although I doubt this was the historical practice because of an archaeological clue in the form of windows in certain ancient Coptic iconostases, which seem superfluous if the curtain is open).

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2019, 09:49:26 PM »
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2019, 09:59:24 PM »
My view has nothing to do with liturgical participation, since Ruthenians are congregational singers that is not an issue.  It is based on liturgical history.  The original use of the curtain, in the Byzantine Rite, aside from being drawn when the altar was not in use, cannot be known.


I agree there is an epistemological barrier with regards to the early uses, which is why I prefer to adhere to the received tradition as we have it at present.  Which in the case of the Ruthenian use, is to not even have curtains usually, which is probably a Latinization, but I would be the last person to support ripping out iconostases and installing new ones in the Catholic and Orthodox churches of the Carpatho-Rusyn-Lemko population.  And frankly you ought to know this by now; my avowed policy regarding the liturgy is to not meddle with existing praxis in existing churches.

When planning new cathedrals, therefore, we can certainly plan to build a replica of the Hagia Sophia with a skeuophylakion, a templon instead of an iconostasis, a gallery for the women, and the full unadulterated Cathedral Typikon, but the usages of established parishes and also the rebuilding of established parishes following fires (I hate church fires...so many beautiful Orthodox churches have been lost, most recently St. Michael’s UOC in Rhode Island in the US, I think).

Quote


  Rubrics for the curtains and doors enter the Liturgicon very late.


Rubrics for pretty much everything enter the service books at a late date.  The earlier the service book, the more vague it is; rubrication occurred to reduce the amount of error and liturgical variance due to incorrect reception of the oral tradition.  So arguing about when something first appears in the rubrics as proof of its lack of antiquity appears to be a fallacious argument from silence, since the appearance of the rubrics we know very well does not mean that that is when a particular liturgical practice was developed. 

If the rubrics suddenly change, like in the Russian Church following the Nikonian revision, or in the Greek church following the double-whammy of the Violakis Typikon and the Revised Julian Calendar, that is of course a different matter entirely.  But the mere appearance of rubrics is not extremely helpful when it comes to dating liturgical traditions.

Even to this day the Rubrics in the Coptic Euchologion are incomplete; the Priest does a lot of things in the altar which are passed down by oral tradition, generally within the context of the training of priests (for example, the contents of the bundle of utensils used for the Coptic prothesis is not widely disclosed from what I understand).  This lack of rubrication also results in variation in how some services are conducted, such as Holy Unction (one bowl of oil with seven wicks, or seven lamps in a cruciform pattern).


Quote

I do not care if an icon screen is two icons, one tier or floor to ceiling or has a curtain or not.  Those are all tolerable differences of style.  I do object to the allegorization or the pseudo-mystification of the Liturgy.  The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety.  What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha.  In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

Your logic here is faulty.  Ancient usages, as documented by Baumstark and others, tend most often to show up in Lent and Holy Week, which is why the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil appears during that season.

By your logic, we ought to see the Liturgy of St. Basil, or even St. James (a fragment of which appears on Holy Saturday during the Vesperal liturgy in the use of “Let all mortal flesh keep silent” instead of the usual cherubic hymn, during the Pachal liturgy, which is obviously not done.  Instead we get the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which tradition says isnthe newest in the Byzantine Rite. Indeed there is some evidence of a trend towards reversion to newer, less invasive practices that occurs as part of the celebrations of Pascha and Bright Week; compare the highly abbreviated Paschal Hours with the elongated hours

 And indeed, we should consider that the Copts use the Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril on Lenten Weekdays, and the innovative Divine Liturgy of St. Gregory the Theologian, which is probably the newest one in the Euchologion, during Pascha itself.   We also see this trend continued in some Episcopalian parishes which use Rite 1 traditional language BCP services during Lent and Rite 2 contemporary language services starting on Easter Sunday.

If we consider liturgical rites on the whole, we see the break with liturgical antiquity seems deliberately targeted for Easter Sunday as part of the celebration of new life associated with that feast.   This is in line with the observations of both Anton Baumstark and Dom Gregory Dix, who made a point of re-emphasizing this observation in the Shape of the Liturgy (and yes, he probably got the shape wrong, but he was nontheless very very good at observing liturgical details, which is why his book remains useful; one can completely dismiss his ideas about the “four action shape”, and still benefit from his book, which has a secondary excellence as a grand tour of liturgical practices in an attempt to make his point).

This by the way often happens in liturgiological treatises: the author will take us on a guided tour of liturgical uses around the world in order to collect evidence in support of a point, but the evidence doesn’t add up, and another author takes us on another grand tour to show how the evidence doesn’t add up, while seeking to make his rival point, which also doesn’t hold water, resuilting in another grand tour, and so on ad infinitum, an infinite regress, except the value of these works is almost never in the point the liturgiolgist is trying to make but in the voyage they take us on in order to build a case for their perspectives.  Which is why if ever I write a grand tour of the liturgy, I will limit myself entirely to documenting existing practices in the greatest possible detail, and then invite the reader to draw their own conclusions.  Of course I have opinions, as this thread shows, but I am always willing to punch a hole in them to accomodate local liturgical custom, for example, the open style of iconostasis favored in your tradition.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #35 on: February 11, 2019, 10:02:02 PM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?

Fail.

Explain.

Well, I have great respect for Justinian of Narnia, but that iconostasis, unless its in a carpatho-Rusyn/Ruthenian church, isn’t within the “parameters of perfection.”  But the photos are also kind of obscured and its a bit hard to see all the details, so I kind of am at a loss.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #36 on: February 11, 2019, 11:01:59 PM »
The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety. 

+1

Quote
What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha. 

In our tradition, we regard every Liturgy, no matter the day, as Pascha.

Quote
In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

#baumstark

Does the Indian Orthodox Church ignore the rubrics in the liturgy concerning the veiling of the sanctuary?

Which rubrics?

I shall just look at your service books and compare them with my diocesan service books and those on Syriac Orthodox Resources.

But not with a view that the IOC is doing anything wrong by the way...

Have fun comparing rubrics in books, but still, I’d like to know which rubrics you have in mind.
Good and messy.

Quote
Oh you Greeks, you are all dumb!

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #37 on: February 11, 2019, 11:04:17 PM »
My view has nothing to do with liturgical participation, since Ruthenians are congregational singers that is not an issue.  It is based on liturgical history.  The original use of the curtain, in the Byzantine Rite, aside from being drawn when the altar was not in use, cannot be known.


I agree there is an epistemological barrier with regards to the early uses, which is why I prefer to adhere to the received tradition as we have it at present.  Which in the case of the Ruthenian use, is to not even have curtains usually, which is probably a Latinization, but I would be the last person to support ripping out iconostases and installing new ones in the Catholic and Orthodox churches of the Carpatho-Rusyn-Lemko population.  And frankly you ought to know this by now; my avowed policy regarding the liturgy is to not meddle with existing praxis in existing churches.

When planning new cathedrals, therefore, we can certainly plan to build a replica of the Hagia Sophia with a skeuophylakion, a templon instead of an iconostasis, a gallery for the women, and the full unadulterated Cathedral Typikon, but the usages of established parishes and also the rebuilding of established parishes following fires (I hate church fires...so many beautiful Orthodox churches have been lost, most recently St. Michael’s UOC in Rhode Island in the US, I think).

Quote


  Rubrics for the curtains and doors enter the Liturgicon very late.


Rubrics for pretty much everything enter the service books at a late date.  The earlier the service book, the more vague it is; rubrication occurred to reduce the amount of error and liturgical variance due to incorrect reception of the oral tradition.  So arguing about when something first appears in the rubrics as proof of its lack of antiquity appears to be a fallacious argument from silence, since the appearance of the rubrics we know very well does not mean that that is when a particular liturgical practice was developed. 

If the rubrics suddenly change, like in the Russian Church following the Nikonian revision, or in the Greek church following the double-whammy of the Violakis Typikon and the Revised Julian Calendar, that is of course a different matter entirely.  But the mere appearance of rubrics is not extremely helpful when it comes to dating liturgical traditions.

Even to this day the Rubrics in the Coptic Euchologion are incomplete; the Priest does a lot of things in the altar which are passed down by oral tradition, generally within the context of the training of priests (for example, the contents of the bundle of utensils used for the Coptic prothesis is not widely disclosed from what I understand).  This lack of rubrication also results in variation in how some services are conducted, such as Holy Unction (one bowl of oil with seven wicks, or seven lamps in a cruciform pattern).


Quote

I do not care if an icon screen is two icons, one tier or floor to ceiling or has a curtain or not.  Those are all tolerable differences of style.  I do object to the allegorization or the pseudo-mystification of the Liturgy.  The Liturgy is The Mystery.  We do not need silent prayers, dead languages, or priests hidden from sight to add mystery to the Liturgy, as if we could add anything mystifying to Christ’s great Mystery.  Believing we can is superstition parading as piety.  What is there to hide anyway?  And if we can celebrate with open doors and curtains at Pascha we can do it at anytime, because every Sunday is a little Pascha.  In fact, celebrating with them open isn’t some special treat but the preservation of the older use at the most solemn time of the year, as liturgical uses so often go.

Your logic here is faulty.  Ancient usages, as documented by Baumstark and others, tend most often to show up in Lent and Holy Week, which is why the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil appears during that season.

By your logic, we ought to see the Liturgy of St. Basil, or even St. James (a fragment of which appears on Holy Saturday during the Vesperal liturgy in the use of “Let all mortal flesh keep silent” instead of the usual cherubic hymn, during the Pachal liturgy, which is obviously not done.  Instead we get the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, which tradition says isnthe newest in the Byzantine Rite. Indeed there is some evidence of a trend towards reversion to newer, less invasive practices that occurs as part of the celebrations of Pascha and Bright Week; compare the highly abbreviated Paschal Hours with the elongated hours

 And indeed, we should consider that the Copts use the Divine Liturgy of St. Cyril on Lenten Weekdays, and the innovative Divine Liturgy of St. Gregory the Theologian, which is probably the newest one in the Euchologion, during Pascha itself.   We also see this trend continued in some Episcopalian parishes which use Rite 1 traditional language BCP services during Lent and Rite 2 contemporary language services starting on Easter Sunday.

If we consider liturgical rites on the whole, we see the break with liturgical antiquity seems deliberately targeted for Easter Sunday as part of the celebration of new life associated with that feast.   This is in line with the observations of both Anton Baumstark and Dom Gregory Dix, who made a point of re-emphasizing this observation in the Shape of the Liturgy (and yes, he probably got the shape wrong, but he was nontheless very very good at observing liturgical details, which is why his book remains useful; one can completely dismiss his ideas about the “four action shape”, and still benefit from his book, which has a secondary excellence as a grand tour of liturgical practices in an attempt to make his point).

This by the way often happens in liturgiological treatises: the author will take us on a guided tour of liturgical uses around the world in order to collect evidence in support of a point, but the evidence doesn’t add up, and another author takes us on another grand tour to show how the evidence doesn’t add up, while seeking to make his rival point, which also doesn’t hold water, resuilting in another grand tour, and so on ad infinitum, an infinite regress, except the value of these works is almost never in the point the liturgiolgist is trying to make but in the voyage they take us on in order to build a case for their perspectives.  Which is why if ever I write a grand tour of the liturgy, I will limit myself entirely to documenting existing practices in the greatest possible detail, and then invite the reader to draw their own conclusions.  Of course I have opinions, as this thread shows, but I am always willing to punch a hole in them to accomodate local liturgical custom, for example, the open style of iconostasis favored in your tradition.

Fr Lance atha!
Good and messy.

Quote
Oh you Greeks, you are all dumb!

An Athonite

Offline LBK

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #38 on: February 11, 2019, 11:04:37 PM »
Quote
But the Hagia Sophia used an outbuilding for this purpose.

Whether or not the skevophylakion was also a bakehouse, you've proved my point. An outbuilding is not a church.

No, because I have cited an example of an Oriental Orthodox church wherein the baking of the Eucharistic bread occurs in the same building.


 And frankly you ought to know this by now; my avowed policy regarding the liturgy is to not meddle with existing praxis in existing churches.


 ::)

Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #39 on: February 11, 2019, 11:35:37 PM »
I want what he's having.  8)
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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2019, 11:41:03 AM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?

Fail.

Explain.

Well, I have great respect for Justinian of Narnia, but that iconostasis, unless its in a carpatho-Rusyn/Ruthenian church, isn’t within the “parameters of perfection.”  But the photos are also kind of obscured and its a bit hard to see all the details, so I kind of am at a loss.

I appreciate your kind words. The church is essentially a pole barn. It is far from ideal, but for a small country church it is functional. The short doors are, from what I have been told, to allow the nave to see into the sanctuary. The hope is to build a temple soon more in keeping with tradition. Thank you all for your input.
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2019, 11:53:38 AM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?

Fail.

Explain.

Well, I have great respect for Justinian of Narnia, but that iconostasis, unless its in a carpatho-Rusyn/Ruthenian church, isn’t within the “parameters of perfection.”  But the photos are also kind of obscured and its a bit hard to see all the details, so I kind of am at a loss.

I appreciate your kind words. The church is essentially a pole barn. It is far from ideal, but for a small country church it is functional. The short doors are, from what I have been told, to allow the nave to see into the sanctuary. The hope is to build a temple soon more in keeping with tradition. Thank you all for your input.

I think it's lovely! I wish more parishes had a setup like yours.
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Offline Justinian of Narnia

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2019, 12:02:58 PM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?

Fail.

Explain.

Well, I have great respect for Justinian of Narnia, but that iconostasis, unless its in a carpatho-Rusyn/Ruthenian church, isn’t within the “parameters of perfection.”  But the photos are also kind of obscured and its a bit hard to see all the details, so I kind of am at a loss.

I appreciate your kind words. The church is essentially a pole barn. It is far from ideal, but for a small country church it is functional. The short doors are, from what I have been told, to allow the nave to see into the sanctuary. The hope is to build a temple soon more in keeping with tradition. Thank you all for your input.

I think it's lovely! I wish more parishes had a setup like yours.
Thank you so much. It is very warm and cozy. It seems to invite you in.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 12:04:53 PM by Justinian of Narnia »
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

Offline Alpha60

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #43 on: February 12, 2019, 12:41:22 PM »
Thoughts on this arrangement?

Fail.

Explain.

Well, I have great respect for Justinian of Narnia, but that iconostasis, unless its in a carpatho-Rusyn/Ruthenian church, isn’t within the “parameters of perfection.”  But the photos are also kind of obscured and its a bit hard to see all the details, so I kind of am at a loss.

I appreciate your kind words. The church is essentially a pole barn. It is far from ideal, but for a small country church it is functional. The short doors are, from what I have been told, to allow the nave to see into the sanctuary. The hope is to build a temple soon more in keeping with tradition. Thank you all for your input.

I have to confess I couldn’t clearly make out the doors in the photo, but my eyes were inflamed when I looked at it.  It sounds like you have a lovely small parish.  I am blessed with very good eyesight but of late my mother and I have both had an unpleasant allergic reaction to a rosemary bush adjacent to our house, so if you could pray for us that would be much appreciated.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.

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Re: The ideal iconostasis
« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2019, 12:44:09 PM »
Also as an instance of my extreme respect for Deacon Lance, I had written off the Maronite liturgy as a hopelessly wrecokvated form of the Syriac Orthodox liturgy which was being consistently and hopelessly abused, but he persuaded me to re-evaluate my position, and I am glad I did, although I still lament the extent of the abuse in the US and the scarcity of YouTube videos depicting the liturgy properly celebrated; I do however have a brilliant recording of it in iTunes.

Council of Nicea:
Εθη ἀρχαῖα κρατείτω. 
Mores antiqui obtineant.
The ancient ways shall prevail.

The sentiment of Nicea in Greek and Latin, translated into English.