Icon corner

An icon corner is an essential feature of any Orthodox house. It becomes the family's place of worship – the home altar.

The concept of the church of the home is an ancient Orthodox tradition, beginning in the first century. At this time there were no separate churches, so Christians would gather in private homes to worship.

Location and set-up
Icon corners are typically located in the east-facing wall of the house, since East is the traditional direction for Orthodox prayer.

Most commonly based in the kitchen as this is where the family gathers together to eat. However, even the living room can have an icon corner.

The purpose of an icon corner is to provide a focal point in the house for the family to worship and pray. To feel the presence of God and to always be within close proximity to give honour to Him.

Each family’s bedroom should also have a small icon corner for private prayer, meditation and to feel God’s presence.

There are many items which are placed within the icon corner:
  • Icon of Christ
  • Icon of the Theotokos
  • Icon of the family's patron saint
  • A cross
  • Other icons – those of saints of family members and significant church events
  • A prayer book
  • The Bible
  • Vigil lamp
  • Seasonal items:
·        First piece cut from the Vasilopita at the feast of St Basil (1 Jan)
·        Holy water from the Theophany church service (6 Jan)
·        Palm Crosses from the Palm Sunday service
·        Holy oil from the Holy Unction service on Holy Wednesday
·        Bay leaves from Holy Saturday Matins service
·        Flowers from special services – Good Friday, Exaltation of the Holy Cross etc.
·        Paschal egg & koulourakia
  • Seal for Communion bread
  • Censer with incense and charcoal pellets
  • Candles from church
  • marriage crowns
  • anything else that has religious importance.

The perishable items should be eaten, distributed to the birds, or burnt if it is necessary to dispose of them. These items have either been blessed at church and/or have remained in a place where prays are made to God.

Some items (such as Holy Oil, candles, incense etc) can be kept in a cupboard underneath the icon corner or in a small decorated box in the icon corner.

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