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ICONOSTASIS

A solid screen dividing the sanctuary, in Eastern churches, from the body of the church, shutting off the altar from the worshipers. This barrier is pierced by three doors; the central one, or royal door, has a cross on top. It must also have on it at least two icons representing Our Lord and Our Lady, though it often has many more. The Gothic builders used the reredos to beautify their altars, and the Eastern churches used this ornamental screen.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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