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Athos Holy Mount

Byzantine Minor Arts
9.8 Panagiarion
10th-11th c.
Chelandari Monastery
Jasper and silver
H. 4.5 cm, diameter at rim 11.4 cm, diameter of base 6.5 cm


The Original New Testament

The most striking characteristic of this panagiarion - a round dish, its rim encased in an engraved metal mount - is the austere simplicity of its design and decoration. In the centre is a half-length Virgin Orans, with Christ before her chest, a scroll in his left hand, right hand raised in blessing. Just under the rim are busts of the four archangels, in crossed positions. Incised inscriptions flank the Virgin's head: 'Mother of God / The Most Holy', and those of the archangels, identifying them by name: Michael, Raphael, Gabriel, Uriel. Small hollows around the edge of the halo show where gemstones were once set. In style, the rendering both of the facial features and of the drapery is very similar to that of the ivories of the 'Romanos group', as well as to certain eleventh- and twelfth-century steatites, such as the Virgin Hodegetria in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Kalavrezou-Maxeiner 1985, no. 80).

The inscription decorating the rim of the vessel, '+ Thy womb is become a Holy Table offering up the bread from heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ, of which whosoever shall eat shall not die, according to the promise of the Heavenly Father who feeds us all', is a hymn (troparion) from the service of the 'Elevation of the Virgin', ascribed to Andreaw of Crete, which thus links the subject represented with both the dogma of the Incarnation and the Elevation of the Virgin.

Bibliography: Radojcic 1955, p. 183, fig. 44.

K. L-T.
Index of exhibits of Monastery of Chelandari
10th 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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