A Portable Miniature Iconostas
19th century in 17th century style, the folding panels with arched tops, in four tiers: the lowest tier showing Apostles, Saints and Angels interceding before the Saviour in Glory; above, a representation of the Festivals; higher up the Old Testament Prophets, and at the apex the Church Forefathers, gilt ground and extensive gilding to vestments, folding to make two portable units, some restoration. The Iconostas is the screen that partitions off the Sanctuary, symbolic of the spiritual world, from that part of the Church where the congregation stand - the material-sensible world. Hiding and revealing the mystery of the Holy of Holies, the Iconostas is hung with icons arrayed in tiers according to a comprehensive cosmological scheme. In its complete form, the Iconostas has five tiers, the lowest of which is pierced with three doors, themselves icons,used by the clergy at specific moments in the liturgy. The Deisis tier is the row of icons placed immediately over the doors. At the centre Christ is showed enthroned as the ruler and judge of the cosmos. Flanking him to left and right are Saints standing before His throne in intercessionary prayer. The presence of these deified figures serves to unite the sanctuary - with the altar at its heart - and the world of man, for which the liturgy holds out the promise of grace, through the operation of the Divine Energies. The festival tier serves to explain the Churchs teaching. The two levels above show the Prophets of the Old Testament, who foretold the Incarnation, and the Forefathers who preceded them. If the Church represents a world picture, so the Iconostas is an image of the Church conveying the story of its establishment through time as well as its eternal essence.