New Iconostasis - Part II.
October 23-27, 2006 - A new Iconotstasis was installed in SS. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in South River, New Jersey, during the week of October 23, 2006. The photoreport covering the installation from start to finish is in two parts. This page is Part II. of the photoreport and it deals primarily with the indivual icons which comprise the new Iconostasis. Part I. of the photoreport describes the icon installation process and gives a little bit of information about the iconographer - Mr. Dmitry Shkolnik - who wrote all of the icons for our new Iconostasis.
For the sake of logistics, we will define our parish's Iconostasis to consist of three tiers. The top tier has space for five icons. The second tier has space for nine icons. The third, or lowest tier, in the Iconostasis has space also for nine icons. In the top tier at the very center is the Deisis icon (above) which depicts Jesus Christ, His Mother the Most-Holy Theotokos, and Saint John the Baptist. The Deisis icon now occupies the position in the icon screen formerly occupied by the icon of the Resurrection. On either side of the Deisis icon in the same tier are the two icons shown below. On the left of the Deisis icon is the icon of St. Sergius of Radonezh (the patron saint of our Pastor Emeritus, the V. Rev. Sergius Kuharsky) and St. Alexander Nevsky (below left) while on the right of the Deisis icon is the icon of Saints Vladimir and Olga (below right).
Two icons complete the first tier and each of them is situated at the extreme outer limits of the Iconostasis. Each of them (above) is semicircular in shape and each of them is devoted to events of the Most-Holy Theotokos - Her Nativity and Her Dormition. As regards the second tier in the Iconostasis, there are nine icons which, when viewed from left to right, represent nine events in the life of Jesus Christ. Left to right they are as follows: Nativity, Presentation, Baptism (Theophany), Transfiguration, the institution of the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the Last Supper; Crucifixion (Good Friday), Resurrection (PASCHA), Ascension, and Pentecost. The description below discusses these icons (not in the left to right order in which they appear in the Iconostasis). We will first consider the icon of The Last Supper. It is centrally located in the second tier of icons, being found above the Royal Doors.
You may click on the icon above to view an enlargement.
The two icons immediately above and the four icons immediately below round out the icons comprising the second tier in the Iconostasis. Their presentation here is not necessarily in concordance with their appearance in the icon screen. Above left is the icon representing the Feast Day of the Theophany (observed on January 6 each year) - the Baptism by St. John of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Above right is the icon devoted to the Feast Day of the Presentation of Jesus Christ in the Temple. This Feast is observed every year on February 2.
The icon above left is dedicated to the Feast Day of Holy Pentecost - a variable Feast occurring fifty days after PASCHA. Above right is the representation of the Feast Day of the Ascension, also a variable Feast Day. The Feast Day of the Ascension occurs invariably each year forty days after PASCHA.
Above left is the icon "The Harrowing of Hades". It is the representation icon for the Feast Day of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - the most holy day on the Orthodox Christian calendar. Above right is the icon depicting the most solemn day on the Orthodox Christian calendar - Good Friday, which is the day on which Our Lord was crucified.
Above left is the icon depicting the Feast Day of the Transfiguration which is observed each August 6. Above right is the Nativity icon which depicts the birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The two icons immediately above and the seven icons immediately below show enlarged views of specific areas of the icons already presented. Note the vivid coloration, the intricate detail, and the facial expressiveness evoked - all as intended by Mr. Shkolnik.
You may click on the icon above to view an enlargement.
Above - the icons comprising the third or lowest tier of the Iconostasis were lined up in the Church Hall in the order in which they would be placed within the framework of the Iconostasis. Left to right they are: the smaller Royal Doors (not shown here); St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, St. Michael the Archangel (deacon's door), the Most-Holy Theotokos, the middle Royal Doors (not shown here); Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Protomartyr and First Deacon St. Stephen (deacon's door), Saints Peter and Paul - our Patrons - and Saint Innocent of Alaska. The seven icons below (excluding the two sets of Royal Doors) are those just described but in larger view.
Above is a greatly enlarged view of a section of the Deisis icon.
Above left is an enlarged view of the icon of St. Innocent of Alaska, while above right is an enlarged view of the icon of the Theotokos and Her Son Jesus Christ This icon is immediately to the left of the Royal Doors. Below is an enlargement of a portion of the icon of our Patrons - Saints Peter and Paul.
All that remains to be discussed is the iconography of the Royal Doors. In our parish we have two sets of Royal Doors to discuss - the larger or central Royal Doors in use today and the smaller Royal Doors at the extreme left of the Iconostasis. The smaller Royal Doors at the extreme left of the Iconostasis were once the entrance to the original, much smaller Sanctuary that our early Church had. On the main Royal Doors are depicted the Feast Day of the Annunciation (above) and the four Evangelists - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (circular icons below).
Above left is the iconography of the main Royal Doors and above right is the similar iconography of the smaller Royal Doors at the extreme left of the Iconostasis.
As we close the discussion of the new Iconostasis, presented above and below are some random photos that hopefully you, the viewer, will enjoy. Above left, Fr. David does a little housecleaning fifteen feet above the Ambo. Above right, he helps Mr. Shkolnik remove a plank from the scaffolding.
Above left - Mr. Ken Harris is at work securing the icons to the framework of the Iconostasis. Above right, Mr. Harris's image is temporarily framed by the ornate borders of our Iconostasis.
Above left - moments before lunch on Friday afternoon, October 27, Rev. Garretson brings a sample of his model railroading skills to show Mr. Harris who is also a fan of model railroads. Above right - Fr. David prays before lunch in the Church Hall on Friday afternoon. For the record, all of us had fish. Most of us had fried flounder fillet of fish sandwich on a hard roll from Jensen's Fish Market and it was delicious!
Mr. Shkolnik (above left) and Fr. David (above right) look on as the work on the Iconostasis progresses.
Above - Fr. David and Dmitry pose before the Iconostasis on Friday evening, October 27, as it had been nearly ninety percent completed at that point.   Many Years!   Mnogaya Lyeta!   to all - be they artist, carpenter, or financial benefactor - who were associated with the Iconostasis project in our Church from its inception to its completion.
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