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Athos Holy Mount

Monumental Painting
1.9 The Holy Mandylion
17th c.
Dionysiou Monastery


The Original New Testament

Depicted in this fresco is the haloed head of Christ, painted on a veil suspended from rings set at regular intervals; apart from Christ's head the veil displays scattered ornaments and the inscription: 'Jesus Christ The Holy Mandylion'. In painting the face of Christ the artist has followed the type of the archetype holy icon from Edessa, Mesopotamia, (Weitzmann 1971 (1960), p. 228), with its serenity of expression, slanting gaze, short bifurcated beard and long hair framing the face. The cruciate halo is inscribed with the words: 'I am the Being'.

The representation of the Holy Mandylion is an integral part of the iconographic programme of many Athonite churches. This particular fresco most probably comes from the ruined Chapel of Hagioi Pantes in the Monastery of Dionysiou (Tavlakis 1981, p. 260). It dates from the sixteenth to seventeenth century, and was in all likelihood the work of the group of artists who were decorating the monastery during that period (see no. 3.4).

Bibliography: Tavlakis 1981.

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