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The icons are a reminder of the common past of the church. They were common in both Eastern and Western churches. They are  sacred images. They are not worshiped, but they make it easier to focus thoughts and prayers on holy persons or events. They are windows to eternity.


Church hall  the front has an image wall, or iconostasis, with several different icons. The icon representing Christ is always to the right of the holy gate and the icon of the Mother of God is to the left. Evangelists are depicted on the doors of the Holy Gate. The side doors have archangels. The communion icon is above the gate.

An icon that is currently related to the church year is always brought to the table in the church hall. Usually the church also has an icon of the saint to whom the church is dedicated.



An Orthodox family always has a small home altar. The central icon is often the icon of the Mother of God and other icons on either side of it. Family members may have an icon of the saint according to whom he was baptized. It is this holy man who is perceived as his own intercessor.

In Karelia it has been customary to put a "Käspaikka" around the home altar

Some very valuable icons are protected from the top with a metal plate or rice. In this case, only the face and hands may appear on the icon.

A light bulb is lit on the home altar in front of the icon.

Karjalassa on ollut tapana laittaa kotialttarin ympärille "käspaikka"

Jotkut erittäin arvokkaat ikonit suojellaan päältä metallilevyllä eli riisalla. Tällöin ikonista saattaa näkyä vain kasvot ja kädet.

Kotialttarilla ikonin edessä palaa lampukka.


The icons are painted  traditionally on a wooden surface, but today often on a thick chipboard. The surface of the plate is covered with a linen cloth, which is brushed several times with chalk flour and gelatin. Sometimes sandpaper is used for sanding.

The paints are made from earth paint powder, which is mixed with water and egg yolk. Sometimes gilding is also used in the icons.

An icon painter must know exactly the rules within which he must abide when creating an image. The color of the clothes of different people can be very precisely defined, from which the painter must not deviate.

Finally, the icon is treated with beeswax and only when it is blessed is it considered ready.

Ikonimaalarin on tarkasti tiedettävä säännöt, joiden puitteissa hänen on pysyttävä luodessaan kuvaa. Eri henkilöiden vaatteiden väri voi olla hyvinkin tarkasti määriteltyä, josta maalari ei saa poiketa.

Lopuksi ikoni käsitellään mehiläisvahalla ja vasta kun se on siunattu, katsotaan sen olevan valmis.

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