The 300 Churches of Limnos Island, Greece

 

Painting of the Church at Agios Yiannis

Painting of the Church at Agios Yiannis

Basic Layout of Greek Orthodox Church Iconostasis

An iconostasis (also iconostas or icon screen) is a screen or wall which serves as a stable support for icons and marks the boundary between the nave and the altar or sanctuary. The term can also refer to a folding, portable set of icons. There has been historically and continues to be a vast range of styles for iconostasis: Some are simply two icons of the Theotokos and the Lord; the most complex, cathedral icon screens have multiple tiers with many icons per tier. The iconostasis is perhaps the most distinctive feature of Byzantine Rite churches. It evolved from the Byzantine templon, originally a small rail without icons that marked the boundary between the nave and the altar.

The Typical Layout

A number of guidelines or rubrics govern which icons are on which parts of the iconostasis, although there is some room for variation. There are also guidelines for who should enter or leave the altar by which door. These guidelines were developed over the course of many centuries, with both theologically symbolic and practical reasons for them.

Though they vary in size, shape and number of icons, the following is a basic layout of an icon screen which one might find in typical parish church.

Typical layout of an icon screen
1. An icon of the Theotokos with the Lord. This indicates the beginning of the end of time, the time of our salvation.2. An icon of The Lord, usually as All-ruler (Pantocratator)the just judge of all our works. This indicates the end of all time, the awesome day of judgment.3. Icon of Saint John, the Prophet, Forerunner, and Baptizer of the Lord.4. Icon of the patron of the temple, or of itspatronal feast.5. The Holy Doors (or the Royal Doors). These usually are a diptych of the Annunciation. Sometimes they may also have the icons of the four evangelists. This entrance is reserved for the use of the bishop, and the priest when he is carrying either the Gospel book or the chalice containing the holy Eucarist. In other words, it is reserved liturgically for the use of Christ as master and Lord.

6. North door (the north and south doors are often called “deacons doors”). This will often depict an archangel, almost always St. Michael. This door is liturgically the exit from the altar, often interpreted mystically as heaven. Thus, St. Michael guards the door to heaven. This icon is also sometimes a deacon, usually St. Stephen the Protomartyr.

7. South door. This door is the liturgical entrance to the altar, interpreted mystically as heaven. The archangel on this door is St. Gabriel, whose announcement to the Theotokos marks the beginning of the Incarnation, which is our entrance to the heavenly realm. If a deacon is depicted, it is usually St. Philip or St. Lawrence.

8. These icons (when present) are usually saints especially near to a parish or nation, such as Ss. Nicholas of Myra, George the Trophy-bearer, Demetrius the Myrrh-streaming, Sergius of Radonezh, Andrew the First-called, Herman of Alaska, or Seraphim of Sarov.

9. This is usually the icon of the Mystical Supper, the last supper our Lord ate with his friends and wherein he instituted the Eucharist.

If there is a second tier, it will usually contain icons of the Twelve Great Feasts. Other tiers will depict the patriarchs, prophets and apostles.

“Iconostasis.” OrthodoxWiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 June 2014. http://orthodoxwiki.org/Iconostasis

 

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#5 Entrance of Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary Church ~ Agios Yiannis

Entrance of Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary Church ~ Agios Yiannis. Dated 1891

Entrance of Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary Church ~ Agios Yiannis. Dated 1891

View from the Church of Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary ~ Agios Yiannis

View from the Church of Nativity of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary ~ Agios Yiannis

Agios Yiannis

Iconostasis (?) verify name of Church at Agios Yiannis

Iconostasis (?) verify name of Church at Agios Yiannis

Agios Yiannis Church Icons

Byzantine Icon of the Theotokos

The icon of the Nativity of the Thetokos

The Mother of God was born without original sin, of a man, Joachim and his barren wife Anna.

The icon resembles the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ which Mary’s birth prepares the way for. Anna is reclining in a bed, in a similar way to how Mary herself reclines in icons of Christ’s Nativity. The infant Mary is below Anna. Saint Joachim, Mary’s father, is in the foreground. Anna is surrounded by attendants who have assisted with the birth and is being bathed and attended by midwives.

 

Saint John the Baptist

Saint John the Baptist

Icon of (?) inside Agios Yiannis Church of the Theotokos

Icon of (?) inside Agios Yiannis Church of the Theotokos

Agios Yiannis Taverna

 

Seaside Taverna ~ Agios Yiannis

Seaside Taverna ~ Agios Yiannis

Fishing boat at Agios Yiannis Beach

Fishing boat at Agios Yiannis Beach

This painting hangs above the Agios Yiannis Taverna. The Church of the Theotokos is painted in the top right corner of the painting. The Church is located up a steep walk approximately 100 yards away, on a cliff, looking over the sea and the Taverna below.

Agios Yiannis Taverna Art

This painting hangs above the Agios Yiannis Taverna. The Church of the Theotokos is painted in the top right corner of the painting. The Church is located up a steep walk approximately 100 yards away, on a cliff, looking over the sea and the Taverna below.

#4 Agios Dimitrios Church in the town of Ag. Dimitrios

Agios Dimitrios Church in the town of Ag. Dimitrios  Dated 1922 - 2001

Agios Dimitrios Church in the town of Ag. Dimitrios
Dated 1922 – 2001

Agios Dimitrios Church ~ Detail of Front Entrance

Agios Dimitrios Front Entrance

Agios Dimitrios Front Entrance

Agios Dimitrios Detail of Front Entrance

Agios Dimitrios Detail of Front Entrance

Agios Dimitrios ~ Patron Saint

Detail of Patron Saint Icon The photo taken through glass as the doors to Church were not open

Detail of Patron Saint Icon

Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki (Greek: Άγιος Δημήτριος της Θεσσαλονίκης) is a Christian martyr of the early 4th century AD.

During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George. His feast day is 26 October for Christians following the Gregorian calendar.

Iconography

St. Demetrius was initially depicted in icons and mosaics as a young man in patterned robes with the distinctive tablion of the senatorial class across his chest. Miraculous military interventions were attributed to him during several attacks on Thessaloniki, and he gradually became thought of as a soldier: a Constantinopolitan ivory of the late 10th century shows him as an infantry soldier (Metropolitan Museum of Art). But an icon of the late 11th century in Saint Catherine’s Monastery on Mount Sinai shows him as before, still a civilian. This may be due to iconic depiction customs on how saints are depicted.

Another Sinai icon, of the Crusader period and painted by a French artist working in the Holy Land in the second half of the 12th century, shows what then became the most common depiction. Demetrius, bearded, rather older, and on a dark horse, rides together with St George, unbearded and on a white horse. Both are dressed as cavalrymen. Also, while St. George is often shown spearing a dragon, St. Demetrius is depicted spearing the gladiator Lyaeos, who according to story was responsible for killing many Christians. Lyaeos is commonly depicted below Demetrius and lying supine, having already been defeated; Lyaeos is traditionally drawn much smaller than Demetrius. In traditional hagiography, Demetrius did not directly kill Lyaeos, but rather through his prayers the gladiator was defeated by Demetrius’ disciple, Nestor.

A modern Greek iconographic convention depicts Demetrius with the Great White Tower in the background. The anachronistic White Tower acts as a symbolic depiction of the city of Thessaloniki, despite having been built in the 16th century, centuries after his life, and the exact architecture of the older tower that stood at the same site in earlier times is unknown. Again, iconography often depicts saints holding a church or protecting a city.

“Demetrius of Thessaloniki.” OrthodoxWiki. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Demetrius