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Byzantine Iconography

The orthodox icon as a place and way of multiple encounters

On the Divine Images I.16-17

Orthodox Art and Architecture

The honor and veneration of the holy icons

Byzantine Athens




The Monastery lies on the eastern slope of Penteli Mountain in the outskirts of Athens. The today's katholikon is dated in the post Byzantine period, but according to numerous Byzantine sculptures and wall integrated inscriptions, become evident that it must have been founded on an older building dated to the middle Byzantine period (10nth century), and renovated around the twelfth century.
The central dome is supported in six tall pilasters and three of smaller dimensions. The katholikon is a hexagonal one, a type that often encountered in Armenia and Georgia.
During the Ottoman occupancy the Monastery was looted by the Turks and terminates its functions for over a century.
According to a post Byzantine religious document (sigillium), the Monastery was renovated in the second half of the 16nt century. The katholikon of the monastery remains intact since then.
In the second half of the 17nth century, the Monastery was destroyed again, this time by Algerian pirates who slaughtered all the monks (179). Their relics are displayed in a sacred building inside the monastic complex. The Monastery closed again this time for more than 250 years.
In 1963 the Monastery was reconstructed and functions as a nun's coenobium. Nowadays the monastic complex consists of the katholikon, the Refectory and the cells.
The defensive tower still exists in the entrance gate.
School of Byzantine music, workshops of hagiography and waxworks and an atelier for Exercising the art of sewing liturgical vestments actively operates in the monastery.

MONASTERY OF THE PAMEGISTON TAXIARCON – Imitos (Convent of the Great Taxiarches - Archangels – Imitos)

A beautiful katholikon situated on the west side of mount Ymmitos close to Kesariani Monastery.
Built in the regular, cross-in-square layout, the katholikon has an octahedral dome and a narthex. The church dated back to the 11nth century and it is surmised that is built upon the ancient ruins of the so called “Diodoros” school. Its masonry it's ponderous and almost rectilinear. The monastery is dedicated to the Taxiarches (Archangels) and established around the eleventh century. The katholikon is flanked by an old castle-like enceinte, two transept buildings and the katholikon. The church's internal walls are covered with frescoes dated back to the 16nth century.
During the 17nth and 18nth century the church had a very rich and important library.
In 1957 the church, was illegitimately vested to the 1st curatorship of Byzantine authority, The Holy Archdiocese of Athens with continuous efforts, tries to bring the church again under its jurisdiction in order to renovate it and establish a coenobium again.

MONASTERY'S KATHOLIKON – KESARIANI (The main church of the Convent – devoted to the “Entrance of Virgin Mary”- Kessariani)

The katholicon (main church) of the monastery dates back to the 11nth century, and the building surrounding the monastery belongs to the Ottoman period.
It is of tetrastyle cross-in-square type with octagonal dome. Instead of the undulating dentil cornices that usually ornaments the Athenian domes; the particular dome is of a rectilinear form. Eight single lobed windows flank the dome. Two rows of brick arches also surround the dome.
The masonry, in the cloisonné system is void of ornamental brickwork. In the post Byzantine period a narthex was added to the west side. A vaulted-roofed chapel was attached to the south side dedicated to Saint Marcus, added during the Franks period.
The original decoration of the katholikon was ruined and today, the sanctuary and the nave are decorated with early 18nth century mural following the stylization and iconographic type of the Cretan painters.
From 1682 up to 1716 the monastery was under the authority of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Nowadays is under the jurisdiction of the Greek Archaeological Service.


The Petrakis Monastery is located in the densely populated area of Lycavitos district.
One of the earliest katholikon (=the most important building-church- in a monastic complex) of the Middle Byzantinine is the one of the monastery of the Incorporeal (Moni Asomaton).
It is almost know as the Petrakis monastery almost adjacent to the Evangelismos hospital.
In 1840, the abbots (Hgoumenoi), of the Monastery, constitute the members of the Petraki family, and continued to keep the monastery alive, keep on reconstructing it and ornament it.
The church is a tetrastyle cross-in-square with dome and build with rubble masonry and the cloisonné style adopted only on the higher reconstructed part only on the higher parts. Due to various repairs the dome of the church with a high tympanum does not belong to a Byzantine style, but this is due to the renovation took place on the 17th century.
The church has three external semicircular apses, three-lobed wide high windows of equal height, and the rubble masonry denotes earlier architectural techniques and archaic traits that can allocate the dating of the building in the second half of the 10nth century.
A large narthex (=frontal door) with dome, replace the original narthex in the 19nth century. The present exonarthex was added in the beginning of the 18nth century, when the katholicon extended to the west. A very important 18nth century painter named Georgios Markos with rich oeuvre, cover the interior wall in 1719.


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