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Athos Holy Mount

Church Embroidery
11.27 Podea with the Presentation of the Virgin
ca. 1500
Gregoriou Monastery
46 x 38 cm
Moldavian workshop


The Original New Testament

According to the Slavonic inscription compressed into the space at the top, the scene represented here is the Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple. The Virgin is depicted under the ciborium, being received into the temple by Zacharias, the future father of St John the Baptist. She is accompanied by her parents and seven 'daughters of Israel', holding lighted candles. These candles presage the symbolic light to come, the Christ who was to enlighten those dwelling in the darkness of sin. The Virgin, who according to the apocryphal gospel is three years old, is represented as a child in size only, otherwise she has the appearance of a grown woman and wears the familiar blue maphorion. The hymn-writer describes her as 'child-like by nature and beyond nature'.

A flight of steps leads up to the Holy of Holies, where we see the Virgin seated on a throne, being fed by an angel, as she was throughout her twelve-year sojourn in the temple.

Apart from the gold thread used for the background and the buildings, the rest of the work is executed in vividly coloured silks: red, turquoise, yellow. The band around the edge and the macramι fringe at the bottom are later additions.

G. Millet attributes this podea to Stefan the Great of Moldavia, who in 1500 issued two chrysobulls in which he is called the founder of the monastery. On the occasion of certain repairs to the buildings, he presented this podea and a matching one, with the scene of the Hospitality of Abraham (Old Testament Trinity), also preserved in the monastery. Millet thinks that these are two of a set now lost representing the Dodekaorton.

Bibliography: Millet 1947, p. 85, pl. CLXXI.

M. Th.
Index of exhibits of Monastery of Gregoriou
16th 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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