On the first Sunday of Great Lent this year, the Sunday of Orthodoxy, the people of St. Mary of Egypt Church in Roswell (Atlanta), GA, began the process of installing a new iconostasis for the church immediately following Divine Liturgy.
It was with a certain sadness that the people of the church began to disassemble the old iconostasis, which had preceded the people of the church like the Holy Cross on their wanderings since the parish joined the Russian Church Abroad twenty years ago. It preceded them to two warehouses and then to the present church building and was, like the cloud and the pillar of fire in the wilderness, an inspiration and a protection from the Lord and His saints to the congregation.
Portions of the iconostasis were brought down from the altar and placed in the nave in the form much like the tabernacle of witness, which led the people of God through the wilderness. While the new iconostasis was being built, all of the divine services were performed from within this tabernacle. Then by the tender mercies of God inspiring the people to great effort, the new iconostasis with three tiers was installed by April 2nd, the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt, the parish’s patronal feast day.
The new iconostasis was hand-carved by Alexei Zamlinsky of Atlanta, GA. Icons were painted by Anna Pokrovsky, who resides in Boston, MA. They are painted according to the traditional Russian style of iconography of the fourteenth century. Presently, the permanent icons consist only of the Christ in Majesty and the first tier of icons. The others are prints on canvas provided by Damascene Gallery in Wayne, WV. As time and finances allow, these will be replaced with hand-printed icons according to the traditional style.
All of the congregation is amazed by the grace of God in all of this: how He provides funds when it is not possible to find them, how He provides a professional architect just at the critical time, how He brings together professionals to design and build a very complicated support for this high and heavy sacred structure. The planning, financing, building and especially the worship of God before these holy icons has strengthened the unity of the congregation and drawn others in for a closer look at Orthodoxy. The people of St. Mary of Egypt Church thank God for His gift of this iconostasis.