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Athos Holy Mount

Athonite Paper Icons
4.4 The Monastery of Vatopedi
Collection of Simonopetra Monastery
Dimensions of copperplate 55.5 x 79 cm
Preserved in Vatopedi Monastery
Engraved in Venice
Engraver: Unknown


The Original New Testament

Inscriptions: Beneath the representation: 'H παρούσα Iερά και Bασιλική Mονή της Mεγίστης Λαύρας του Bατοπεδίου εχαλκοχαράχθη δι' εξόδων του Πανοσιωτάτου Προηγουμένου της αυτής Mονής, Kυρού Aρσενίου του εκ της Nήσου Zακύνθου, ίνα δωρεάν χαρίζηται τοίς Oρθοδόξοις Xριστιανοίς, χάριν ευλαβείας. Eν έτει 1792 εν Bενετία' (The present Holy and Royal Monastery of the Great Lavra of Vatopedi was engraved in copper at the expense of the Reverend Hegumen of the monastery, Arsenios, from the island of Zakynthos, to be given without charge to Orthodox Christians as an act of piety. Venice 1792). Along the lower edge: 'H χαλκοχάρακτος αύτη ώ θεατά, γέγονεν δι' επιταγής του ως άνωθεν οράς. Aλλ' επεί πρό της καταβολής των αναλωμάτων το κοινόν τη φύσει εκείνος ελειτούργησεν ο ιερολογιώτατος κυρ Προκόπιος Kαρτσιώτης την τιμήν των αργυρίων καταβαλών, αφιεροί ταύτην εν ή επιγράφεται, προς μνημόσυνον των αυτού γεννητόρων Nικολάου και Kαλομοίρας 1802'. (This engraving which you see was commissioned by the above-mentioned. As, however, he died before paying the fee, the cost was met by the priest Prokopios Kartsiotis in memory of his parents Nicholaos and Kalomoira 1802).

The engraving shows the fortified complex of Vatopedi, with its circuit walls, storied ranges of kellia, katholikon, bell tower, clock tower, the various chapels and the phiale. A host of monks are issuing from the gate, following a religious procession moving above the monastery. To the left, near the beach, a group of soldiers stand by the sleeping Emperor Arcadios, who was saved from a shipwreck by the Virgin's intervention. The shipwreck itself is shown below, in the sea, which is crowded with large and small vessels around a sea-monster. Scattered round the monastery are kellia, chapels, and gardens.

The top corners are occupied by four small icons of the Virgin Esphagmeni, the Emperor Theodosios and St Sabas of Chelandari. At the bottom of the picture, in a wide band runs in eight columns an extensive metrical narration of the history of Vatopedi, interrupted in the middle by the calligraphic initials AB of the well-known Venetian printer Antonio Bortoli.

This is a finely drawn engraving in the western style, based on two earlier engravings printed in Vienna in 1744 and 1767. The work was printed in 1802, ten years after it was engraved, as the original donor, the Hegumen Arsenios, died before paying the fee, which was finally paid by the second donor Prokopios Kartsiotis.

Bibliography: Papastratou 1986, no. 445. Provatakis 1993, no. 107. Tavlakis 1996, pp. 549-51.

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