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Институт живописи, скульптуры и 

архитектуры имени И. Е. Репина

при Российской академии художеств
При поддержке Министерства культуры
Российской Федерации

Афон – Светоч Православия: 

взаимодействие культур
Материалы Международной конференции
5–7 октября 2016 г.

St Petersburg Repin State Academic Institute of Painting,

Sculpture and Architecture of Russian Academy of Arts
By financial support of Ministry of Culture
of the Russian Federation

Mount Athos – the Light 

of the Orthodox Christianity: 
Interaction of Cultures
International Conference. Post Prints
5–7 October 2016

Санкт-Петербург, 2017
St Petersburg, 2017
О. В. Силина. «Служба святых отец» в стенописи Дионисия 1502 г. и ее связь с литургической практикой

8. Роспись Благовещенского собора. Публикация одного памятника. Л. : Аврора, Georgios Tsimpoukis

9. Рыбаков А. А. О датировке фресок Дионисия в соборе Рождества Богородицы Фера-
понтова монастыря // Памятники культуры. Новые открытия. Ежегодник / Под ред. Д. С. Ли-
хачева. Л. : Наука, 1986. С. 283–289.
10. Сергий Булгаков, прот. Православие : Очерки учения Православной Церкви. М.
: Терра, 1991.
11. Турилов А. А. К истории великоморавского наследия в литературах южных и вос-
точных славян: Слово «О похвале Богородицы Кирилла Философа» в рукописной тради-
ции XV–XVII вв. // Великая Моравия, ее историческое и культурное значение / Под ред.
Г. Э. Санчук, Й. Поулик. М. : Наука. 1985. С. 253–269. The Influence of the Hermēneia of Dionysius of Fourna
12. Успенский Ф. И. Очерки по истории византийской образованности. СПб., 1892. on the Revelation Wall-paintings of Mount Athos
13. Ульяновський В. Митрополит Киїивський Спиридон. Київ, 2004.
14. Babić G. Les chapelles annexes des églises byzantines. Fonction liturgique et programmes I owe many thanks to the Hellenic Minis- derstand, and there were no relevant illus-
iconographiques. Paris, 1969. try of Culture and Sports, especially to the trations available to allow illiterate people
Ephorate of Antiquities of Chalkidiki and to to fully perceive its content.
the Ephorate of Antiquities of Karditsa, for In the monumental painting of the Or-
granting me the license to study the Revela- thodox East, the Revelation was depicted
tion wall-paintings presented. Special thanks for the first time shortly after 1553 in the
owe to the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Dionysiou Monastery on Mount Athos [21,
Federation and the Repin Art Institute of the p. 57, n. 135]. Although this cycle was based
Russian Academy of Arts, as well, for invit- on the works of Western engravers of the
ing me to present my paper. Reformation [7], its creation played a signif-
icant role in the subsequent development of
The spread of the Revelation in the the subject in monumental painting. Nearly
Orthodox East is inextricably linked to the a century later, the cycle of Xenophōntos
historical conditions that emerged after the Monastery (1632–1654) was created; it was
fall of Constantinople (1453) and the rapid followed by the creation of the cycle in the
spread of the Ottoman Empire into Balkan Docheiariou Monastery (1676–1700). In the
territory. This development, namely the en- 18th century, cycles of Revelation decorated
slavement of Christians by non-Christians the chapel of Koukouzelissa in the Monas-
conquerors, certainly hampered their living tery of the Great Lavra (1715) and the exon-
conditions, fostering feelings of frustration, arthex of the katholikon in the monasteries
fear and insecurity [11, p. 15–33; 19, p. 33– of Philotheou (1765), Karakallou (1767),
37]. Moreover, fertile ground was created Xēropotamou (1783) and Ivērōn (1795), and
for the enslaved to come into contact with in the 19th century, the exonarthex of the
the Revelation, the redemptive character katholikon in the monasteries of Zōgraphou
of which might have boosted their morale. (1817) and the Great Lavra (1852).
However, in the first years after the fall of The spread of the iconographic theme
Constantinople, the Revelation was not ac- of Revelation on Mount Athos [21] should
cessible to the whole of Ottoman-conquered certainly be related to the Hermēneia [1; 2,
Hellenism. Its language was not easy to un- p. 2–7; 3, p. 30–34 and 42; 4, p. 73–82; 8,

G. Tsimpoukis. The Influence of the Hermēneia of Dionysius of Fourna on the Revelation Wall-paintings of Mount Athos G. Tsimpoukis. The Influence of the Hermēneia of Dionysius of Fourna on the Revelation Wall-paintings of Mount Athos

1. Philotheou Monastery. 1765. The opening of the sixth seal (Rev 6:12–17)

p. 1–60; 9; 10, p. 205–206; 13, p. 385–386; this paper, an effort to determine the effect of
15, p. 228–229; 16, p. 300–305; 25, p. 106 the Hermēneia on the six cycles of the Rev-
and 276], a guidebook for painters written elation, created after the mid-18th century on
by Dionysius of Fourna [2, p.  17–18; 8, Mount Athos, is made, so that the importance
p. 245–266; 13, p. 380–381; 14, p. 227–240; of the Hermēneia can be assessed.
15, p. 227–228; 16, p. 292–296; 17, p. 273– The first cycle of the Revelation cre-
279; 20, p.  201–202; 25, p.  105–106 and ated after the writing of the Hermēneia is
276–277], between the years 1729–1732, in now preserved in the Philotheou Monas-
order to help artists in their work. Regard- tery (1765). The effect of the Hermēneia
less of the sources used by Dionysius [2, is already evident from the opening of the
p. 48–53; 6, p. 1–4 and 36–37; 21, p. 286– sixth seal (Rev 6:12–17), where, for the first
289], the existence of a specific chapter on time, the sky is depicted as a scroll (ill. 1),
how Revelation should be illustrated was following the relevant guideline [5, p. 46;
of great importance. In this special chapter 18, p. 130–131, § 48]. A similar manner of
[5, p. 46–49; 18, p. 129–139, § 44–67], the depiction is later found in the monasteries
reader can find detailed instructions on how of Karakallou (1767), Xēropotamou (1783)
each of the twenty-four scenes, in which the and the Great Lavra (1852).
book of Revelation is divided by Dionysius, A discernible impact of the Hermēneia
should be depicted; moreover, characteristic can also be seen at the illustration of the sixth
2. Philotheou Monastery (1765). The seventh trumpeting (Rev 11:15–19)
lines of the text of Revelation are cited, so trumpeting (Rev 9:13–21), in which people
that painters can use them in their scenes. In are depicted trying to escape, looking back

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3. Karakallou Monastery. 1767. Christ appears to John,

assigning him the writing of the Revelation (Rev 1:9–20)

with fear, according to the relevant recom- water out of its mouth “like a river” to-
mendation [5, p. 47; 18, p. 133, § 53]. Sev- wards the woman (Rev 12:15), first found
eral years later (1852) the painter Zacharias in the Philotheou Monastery, later in the
Chrēstou in the cycle of the Great Lavra Xēropotamou Monastery (1783), is also
depicted people in a similar way. related to the description of Dionysius [5,
The effect of the Hermēneia on re- p. 47; 18, p. 134–135, § 57].
counting the seventh trumpeting (Rev An impact of the Hermēneia can also
11:  15–19) – a scene for the first time be found in the depiction of the harvest
depicted in the Philotheou Monastery of the land and the harvest of the vine
(1765) (ill.  2) and later in the monaster- (Rev 14:14–20). Both the general arrange-
ies of Xēropotamou (1783) and the Great ment of the iconographic elements, and
Lavra (1852), based on the guidelines of some specific details (Temple of God, text
Dionysius [5, p. 47; 18, p. 134, § 56] – is on Angel’s scroll) make it clear that the
undoubted. Moreover, the depiction of the painter of the Philotheou Monastery knew
seven-headed dragon, which is spewing the relevant paragraph [5, p. 48; 18, p. 136, 4. Karakallou Monastery. 1767. The fifth trumpeting (Rev 9:1–12)

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5. Xēropotamou Monastery. 1783. The opening of the first three seals (Rev 6:1–6) 6. Xēropotamou Monastery. 1783. The pouring of the first six bowls
of God’s anger (Rev 16:1–16)

§ 60]. The same can be seen in the depic- In the scene of the fifth trumpeting
tion of the fall of Babylon (Rev 18:1–24). (Rev 9:1–12), the painter Seraphim faith- same scene, the vultures in the sky do not fly Moreover, the accompanying inscription
The accompanying inscription, on the upper fully follows the description of the relevant over the defeated army (Rev 19:17–18), as in Greek (ΕΡΧΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΒΛΕΠΕ), above
part, and the angel holding the scroll, on the paragraph of the Hermēneia [5, p. 47; 18, in all previous depictions on Mount Athos, the four “Living Creatures”, the symbols
top left, have been drawn from the relevant p.  132–133, §  52]. He depicts the key of but eat the flesh of the enemy troops, as in- of the four evangelists, also derives from
paragraph [5, p. 48; 18, p. 137–138, § 63]. the abyss as transferred not by a demonic dicated in the Hermēneia. A few years later, the Hermēneia. The same inscription will
The iconographic cycle of the star, as it is cited in the text of John (Rev 9: a similar depiction of Christ and the vultures later be written nearby the four “Living
Karakallou Monastery was painted two 1), but by the angel of the fifth trumpeting would be found in the Xēropotamou Mon- Creatures” in the monasteries of Ivērōn
years later, in 1767. The influence of the (ill. 4). Moreover, due to the influence of astery (1783). (1795) and Zōgraphou (1817). Moreover,
Hermēneia is quite apparent, although Dionysius’ text, people are depicted hidden The Hermēneia seems to have been in the scene depicting the opening of the
fewer scenes seem to have been inspired in caves, safe and sound, contrary to the text a necessary tool for the three painters fifth seal (Rev 6:9–11), the souls of the
by its guidelines. The depiction of the cave of John (Rev 9:5–6), in which people are from Korça  – Constantine, Athanasius martyrs are shown as living people who
of Patmos island (Rev 1:9), where John described as trying to defend themselves and Naoum  – who painted the cycle of pray to God, just in the way described
was when the Revelation took place, is de- from the locusts’ attack. the Xēropotamou Monastery in 1783. This in the guidebook of Dionysius [5, p. 46;
picted for the first time in the cycle of the The depiction of Christ, “The Word of is already evident in the first scenes of the 18, p. 130, § 47]. Similar depictions can
Karakallou Monastery (ill. 3), following the God” (Rev 19:13), who is not wearing many iconographic cycle. For instance, at the de- also be found in the monasteries of Ivērōn
relevant suggestion of Dionysius [5, p. 46; diadems, as John describes (Rev 19:12), but piction of the opening of the first seal (Rev (1795), Zōgraphou (1817) and the Great
18, p. 129, § 44]. Similar depictions of the only one crown, as Dionysius advises [5, 6: 1–2), the horse-rider is attacking peo- Lavra (1852).
cave can also be found, several decades lat- p. 48–49; 18, p. 138–139, § 64], could also ple (ill. 5) , according to the Hermēneia’s Obviously under the influence of the
er, in the monasteries of Zōgraphou (1817) be enumerated in the few, but characteristic, description [5, p.  46; 18, p.  130, §  46], Hermēneia [5, p. 47; 18, p. 134, § 55], the
and the Great Lavra (1852). effects of the Hermēneia. Furthermore, in the although John does not mention this detail. three painters depict, for the first time on

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7. Ivērōn Monastery. 1795. The Lamb on Mount Zion and the 144,000 chosen ones
(Rev. 14:1–13); the harvest of the land and the harvest of the vine (Rev 14:14–20)
8. Zōgraphou Monastery. 1817. The opening of the fifth seal (Rev 6:9–11)

Mount Athos, the assumption of the two derives from the text of the Hermēneia [5, (Rev 16:12) are of special interest, since as that of the sun (Rev 16:8), which is
witnesses in the sky (Rev 11:12). In the next p. 47; 18, p. 134, § 56]. these details are apparently depicted – for painted “with great rays reaching down
scene, the seventh trumpeting (Rev 11:15– In the scene of the pouring of the the first time on Mount Athos – under the to the men”, are iconographic details re-
19), the representation of the people who seven bowls of God’s anger (ill.  6), the influence of the Hermēneia [5, p. 48; 18, vealing that the three painters from Korça
try to be protected just below the Temple conversion of the sea and rivers into blood p.  136, §  61]. Moreover, the depiction knew the relevant paragraph of Dionysius’
of God is characteristic, as such a detail (Rev 16:3–4) and the Euphrates’ drying of the seven angels (Rev 15:6), as well guidebook.

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G. Tsimpoukis. The Influence of the Hermēneia of Dionysius of Fourna on the Revelation Wall-paintings of Mount Athos G. Tsimpoukis. The Influence of the Hermēneia of Dionysius of Fourna on the Revelation Wall-paintings of Mount Athos

10. The Great Lavra Monastery. 1852. The opening of the seventh seal (Rev 8:1–13)

guidebook some of the iconographic details the fifth seal (Rev 6: 9–11) in the Zōgraphou
found in these two monasteries, they might monastery (1817), Mētrophanēs illustrates
already have been known to Nikēphoros and another angel conversing with the martyrs
Mētrophanēs through earlier representations (ill. 8) , according to Dionysius’s guidelines
on Mount Athos, in which these details ap- [5, p. 46; 18, p. 130, § 47].
peared for the first time. Moreover, as has In 1852, when the exonarthex of the
already been pointed out [21, p. 269–270], katholikon of the Great Lavra Monastery
9. The Great Lavra Monastery. 1852. The glorification of God and the Lamb of Zion Nikēphoros drew numerous iconographic was decorated with scenes of the Revela-
(Rev 7:9–17) details from the cycle of the Xēropotamou tion, the guidebook of Dionysius was already
Monastery, painted twelve years earlier. in circulation for more than a century and,
The scene depicting the fall of Baby­ in the last scene of the cycle, in which the Despite the aforementioned difficul- apparently, continued to be a useful tool for
lon (Rev 18:1–24) is yet another piece of New Jerusalem is seen (Rev 21: 1–27). ties, it should be considered quite likely that painters. The painter Zacharias Chrēstou
evidence that the three painters had the The presence of God and the nine angelic the painters Nikēphoros and Mētrophanēs systematically refers to the pages of the
Hermēneia in mind. According to the hosts, as well as the inscription on the top, had taken the Hermēneia into account. For Hermēneia, applying its recommendations
description of Dionysius [5, p.  48; 18, above the angels, the text of which refers example, in the scene of the 144,000 chosen in practice, often with remarkable precision.
p.  137  138, §  63], the angel announcing to the new holy city (Rev 21:3), are icono- ones (Rev 7:1–8), the two painters, proba- The scene of the glorification of God
the fall of Babylon (Rev 18: 1–3) is de- graphic details definitely proving that the bly under the influence of the Hermēneia [5, and the Lamb of Zion (Rev 7:9–17) is a
picted “surrounded by a circle of dazzling three painters from Korça were aware of p. 46; 18, p. 131, § 49], depict one (Ivērōn) characteristic example (ill.  9). Following
light” and holding an inscribed scroll. The Dionysius’ guidebook. or two (Zōgraphou) angels putting the the description in the Hermēneia accurate-
decision of the three painters to depict the Unlike the aforementioned monaste­ cross-sign onto the foreheads of the chosen ly [5, p.  46; 18, p.  131, §  50], Zacharias
glorification of God (Rev 19:1–10) might ries, where the influence of the Hermēneia ones. Moreover, in the scene of the Lamb on Chrēstou depicts God, surrounded by many
also be related to the Hermēneia. Dionysius is evident to a lesser or greater extent, in the Mount Zion and the 144,000 chosen ones angels, having the sealed book on his knees
devotes a separate paragraph [5, p. 48; 18, monasteries of Ivērōn (1795) and Zōgraphou (Rev 14:1–13), the angel prompting the in- and the crowd of the martyrs beneath his
p. 137–138, § 63] to describing this scene, (1817), the work of the painters Nikēphoros habitants of the earth to “fear the Lord and throne; moreover, the conversation between
which had never before been represented by and his son Mētrophanēs, respectively, the give him glory” (Rev 14: 6–7) is placed John and one of the twenty-four “Elders”
previous painters on Mount Athos. extent of the Hermēneia’s influence is dif- below the chosen ones (ill. 7) , exactly as (Rev 7:13–16) is depicted for the first time
The impact of the Hermēneia [5, ficult to determine. The main difficulty is in the Hermēneia [5, p. 47–48; 18, p. 135, in this cycle, since Dionysius mentions this
p. 49; 18, p. 139, § 67] can also be found that although Dionysius mentions in his § 59]. Finally, in the image of the opening of iconographic detail.

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G. Tsimpoukis. The Influence of the Hermēneia of Dionysius of Fourna on the Revelation Wall-paintings of Mount Athos G. Tsimpoukis. The Influence of the Hermēneia of Dionysius of Fourna on the Revelation Wall-paintings of Mount Athos

The next scene (ill. 10), describing the But, the greatest impact of the Hermē­ to depict even the details mentioned by the monasteries in the Agrafa region, namely the
opening of the seventh seal (Rev 8:1–13), neia on the cycles of the 18th century can Revelation text, when Dionysius omits these Spēlia Monastery near Koumpouriana vil-
is also depicted according to the guidelines undoubtedly be found in the cycle of the details. For instance, at the opening of the lage (after 1737) [22, p. 65–84; 24, p. 48–49
of Dionysius. Following the description in Xēropotamou Monastery. The three painters fourth seal (Rev 6:7–8), the painter does not and 366–371] and the Petra Monastery near
the Hermēneia [5, p. 46–47; 18, p. 131–132, from Korça quite often refer to the guidebook depict Hades, because Dionysius [5, p. 46; Katafygio village (1789) [12, p. 33–39; 23,
§  51] faithfully, God is shown seated on of Dionysius, searching for ideas to enrich 18, p. 130, § 46] suppresses this element, p. 97–112; 24, p. 44–46 and 353–357], I at-
a throne and surrounded by seven worship- the Revelation iconography — an effort that although previous painters on Mount Athos tempted to establish a connection between
ping angels, not trumpeting as in all previ- proved successful. The depiction of the glori- had depicted that iconographic detail in their their Revelation wall-paintings and the
ous Revelation wall-paintings on Mount fication of God (Rev 19:1–10) is a character- Revelation cycles. A similar choice is seen Hermēneia, given that Dionysius came from
Athos. The fact that Zacharias Chrēstou istic example of this successful effort, since, in the representation of the opening of the the Agrafa region. However, such a possibi­
depends on the Hermēneia is testified by the as has been pointed out above, this representa- sixth seal (Rev 6:12–17), where the painter lity seems unlikely, as the influence of the
addition of four more trumpeting angels, as tion – painted according to Dionysius’s guide- Zacharias Chrēstou refuses to depict the con- Hermēneia both on the Spēlia (after 1737)
well as by the way the star “Wormwood” is lines [5, p. 48–49; 18, p. 137–138, § 63] – had sequences of the great earthquake, although and the Petra (1789) monasteries is, unfor-
depicted, since it is not encircled by flames, never before been recounted by the previous previous painters included this detail, due to tunately, very limited.
as in all previous representations of Mount painters on Mount Athos. the fact that Dionysius does not include this Regardless of the influence of the
Athos, but it emits rays of light. Finally, the The influence of the Hermēneia on iconographic element in his guidelines [5, Hermēneia on Revelation iconography – an
golden altar, a detail mentioned by John the iconographic cycles of the Ivērōn and p. 46; 18, p. 130–131, § 48]. issue always open to further research – it
(Rev 8:3), is not depicted in the representa- Zōgraphou monasteries is quite small, in spite One arguably wonders if the influence is certain that the guidebook of Dionysius,
tion of the Great Lavra Monastery, contrary of the fact that in the beginning of the 19th cen- of the Hermēneia can only be found in the at least on Mount Athos, where the writer
to all earlier corresponding representations tury the guidebook of Dionysius reached the aforementioned cycles or if this guidebook lived and worked for many years, gave a
on Mount Athos, because Dionysius sup- peak of its popularity [9, p. 76]. The painter went beyond the borders of Mount Athos. strong boost to the illustration of the Rev-
presses the detail. Nikēphoros, who created the cycle of Ivērōn Did Dionysius inspire other painters to in- elation, greatly enriching the iconography.
From the aforementioned examples, it Monastery (1795), and his son Mētrophanēs, clude the Revelation in their iconographic The effect of the guidebook, to a greater or
can safely be deduced that the Hermēneia, who painted the Zōgraphou cycle (1817), are agendas? However, these questions are not lesser extent, is detected in the Revelation
the guidebook written by Dionysius of likely to have had a copy of the Hermēneia at easy to answer because the cycles that have cycles of all the painters of Mount Athos,
Fourna (1729–1732), was a useful tool for their disposal, but its instructions are followed survived outside Mount Athos, in other areas from the second half of the 18th century
painters, which greatly enriched the Rev- only occasionally. of Ottoman-conquered Greece, are very few until the mid-19th century, making it a use-
elation iconography on Mount Athos. This In contrast, in the Great Lavra Monas- and have not been systematically studied ful – at the theoretical level – iconographic
iconographic enrichment is evident firstly tery (1852) the Hermēneia appears to have [21, p. 51–56]. During a recent study of two version at the disposal of painters.
in the cycle of the Philotheou Monastery been an indispensable tool for the painter
(1765), later at the Karakallou Monastery Zacharias Chrēstou. Despite the fact that
(1767), as well. Especially, with respect to until the mid-19th century a long icono- 1. Didron A. Manuel d’Iconographie Chrétienne Grecque et Latine. Paris, 1845.
the Karakallou Monastery, it is reasonable graphic tradition in depicting the book of 2. Ferens M. Dionysius of Fourna: Artistic Identity Through Visual Rhetoric. California,
to assume that Dionysius himself would Revelation existed on Mount Athos (there 2015 // University of California Riverside Electronic Theses and Dissertations. [URL]: http://
escholarship.org/uc/item/61n600dz (access date: 15.6.2016).
have given a copy of the Hermēneia to the were nine other cycles), Zacharias Chrēstou
3. Gouma-Peterson T. The Survival of Byzantinism in 18th Century Greek Painting // Allen
leaders of the monastery. Having painted systematically refers to the pages of the
Memorial Art Museum Bulletin. 1971. Vol. 29/1. P. 11–59.
several portable icons in the monastery Hermēneia. He quite faithfully follows the 4. Gravgaard A.-M. Change and Continuity in Post-Byzantine Church Painting // Cahiers
in 1722 [2, p. 27–28; 8, p. 261–265; 13, instructions of Dionysius for the illustration de l’Institut du Moyen-Âge Grec et Latin. 1987. Vol. 54. P. 73–82.
p. 383; 14, p. 233; 20, p. 199–240], Dio- of each and every scene. 5. Hetherington P. The “painter’s manual” of Dionysius of Fourna: an English translation
nysius probably maintained contact with Zacharias Chrēstou proved to be so [from the Greek] with commentary of cod. gr. 708 in the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library.
its monks. dedicated to the Hermēneia that he refuses Leningrad ; London, 1989.

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deutschen Bibelillustration der Reformation // Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte. 1939. Vol. 8. S. 1–40.
7. Huber P. (translation in Greek by Philotheos Garitsēs). Η Αποκάλυψη στην Τέχνη ∆ύσης
και Ανατολής. Αθήνα, 1995.
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καὶ αἱ κύριαι αὐτῆς ἀνέκδοτοι πηγαί, ἐκδιδομένη μετὰ Προλόγου νῦν τὸ πρῶτον πλήρης κατὰ τὸ
учением... быстро переродился в глубо- что он ощущал в груди и сердце теплоту
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παρατηρήσεις και συσχετισµοί µε την ιστορική εξέλιξη της µεταβυζαντινής τέχνης // Δελτίον τῆς альным толкованиям догму» [10, с. 23]. жгла, а прохлаждала, услаждала, и про-
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του // Εικόνες Ιεράς Μονής Καρακάλλου / Επιμέλεια έκδοσης Τσιγαρίδας Ε., Χρυσοχοΐδης Κ., ся в Византии после победы паламитов, привлечь «Наставление безмолствую-
Στρατή Α., Παπαδημητρίου Π., Trifonova A., Φουστέρης Γ. Άγιον Όρος, 2011. P. 199–246. оказался губительным для византийской щим» Каллиста (ученика прп. Григория
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влиянию на церковное искусство, обу- хастов, что «та есть и именуется сердеч-
P. 65–84, fig. 1–10.
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словленному, прежде всего, святоотече- ною молитвою… из которой рождается
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ζωγραφική του 18ου αιώνα στην περιοχή των Αγράφων. Αθήνα, 2008. энергиям [35, p. 259–277]1. о творческом методе русских художни-
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литва» не требовала молитвенного об- ву которого легла исихастская теория

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