Iconography : A Divine Inspiration

In the eastern churches of early Christianity, the sanctuary was separated from the nave by a low wall, being either latticed grill or solid, with an entrance in the middle. At first, the icons were hung onto the wall in a row; and over time a second and third and even up to five rows or tiers were added. This became known as the ‘Icon Screen’ or in Greek ‘Iconostasis’.

Therefore, Iconostasis means a partition covered with icons (icon screen). It symbolizes that boundary between the material world and the spiritual world. The icon screen invites us to a spiritual communion with the Celestial Church.

Each and every icon on the icon screen, on this website and everywhere around the world, bears witness to the incarnate Christ and the Heavenly Kingdom of our Lord. They are our visual reminder of the invisible world, a heavenly vision to strengthen our spiritual state and a window through which our conscious mind can be unified with our unconscious self.

Concerning the Byzantium style icons that are hanging in the restroquire of Winchester Cathedral is the following commentary which was written by Canon Walker of Winchester Cathedral:

"Take time to see the icon screen as a whole. Enjoy the colours, and notice each individual figure. When you pray, you pray amid the whole Company of Heaven. Choose an icon that attracts you and stand or sit before it. Direct your attention to it and resist distraction. The icon symbolizes the heavenly person it depicts and shares his or her life. It is sacramental. You are on holy ground. Allow your prayer to take its own course but in this sacred time you may petition God for your own or others’ needs. God is more ready to answer our prayer than we are to pray, and the one with whom we pray assists our prayer in its asking and answered form. Quietly end your prayer by seeing the icon in relation to all the icons.”

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