Definition of iconostasis in US English:



  • A screen bearing icons, separating the sanctuary of many Eastern churches from the nave.

    • ‘There's an iconostasis before the altar, just as in all Orthodox and Eastern churches - here the floors are piled with carpets, and on the walls there are huge, colourful icons.’
    • ‘A set of doors that may have belonged to the church of St. Sophia in Novgorod formed part of the iconostasis, the high screen that divided the church sanctuary from the nave in late medieval Russia.’
    • ‘Bruni's version was completed for the iconostasis of the Church of Annunciation (court chapel in Tsarskoe Selo).’
    • ‘The iconostasis of the Orthodox church effects what in Gothic architecture is accomplished by the Rood Screen, the separation of the nave from the sanctuary.’
    • ‘The altar is located in the center of the sanctuary, and a screen or partition called an iconostasis separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church.’


Mid 19th century: from modern Greek eikonostasis, from eikōn ‘likeness’ + stasis ‘standing, stopping’.