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Athos Holy Mount

8.3 Cross
ca. 1600
Pantokrator Monastery
Wood, 95 x 85 cm


The Original New Testament

The small dimensions of this cross (only 95 cm high) suggest that it was made for the epistyle of the iconostasis in a chapel, because we know that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries iconostases crosses were much larger, frequently attaining a height of four metres (see the Introduction).

The arms of the cross terminate in three-lobed ornaments, and at the point of intersection they widen by means of four ninety-degree angles to form a central square. The base of the cross is not stepped. The whole inner body of the cross is outlined with an unbroken row of tiny bosses, the arms are edged with stylised roses, and carved flowers are affixed to the terminal three-lobed ornaments. More specifically, the three upper extremities each have three large and two small flowers in the form of stylised palmettes with a pine cone emerging from them; the bottom has only two large flowers on the lateral lobes, because the middle lobe rested on the epistyle. The Crucifixion is painted on the gilded ground of the cross, and in the three-lobed extremities are the symbols of the Evangelists, the eagle of St John, the angel of St Matthew, the lion of St Mark, and the calf of St Luke. At the base of the painted cross is a concise representation of the hill of Calvary and the skull of Adam. The form of this cross, with the three-lobed extremities and carved flowers affixed to them, features already known in the fourteenth century, seems to have become more widespread on the iconostases of Orthodox churches in the sixteenth century (Vocotopoulos 1988, fig. 3. Kazanaki-Lappa 1991, figs. 113, 116-18).

Bibliography: Unpublished.

Index of exhibits of Monastery of Pantokrator
17th century

The Authentic Greek New Testament Bilingual New Testament I

Icon of the Mother of God and New Testament Reader Promote Greek Learning
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

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