The Iconographical Cycle
of the Eothina Gospel pericopes
in Churches from the reign of King Milutin*
The paper deals with the examination of the iconograph-
ic cycle of the Eothina Gospel pericopes, in which are de-
picted not only the appearances of Christ after his Resur-
rection, but also additional events, which have an expos-
itory function and give a visual rendering of the theologi-
cal message of the Resurrection pericopes. During the Pa-
laeologan period the Eothina were depicted in all possi-
ble detail, in order that as many scenes as possible could
be produced. Thus, although there are only eleven Eoth-
ina pericopes in all, in a number of churches from the
time of Milutin the cycle includes up to sixteen scenes, of
a clearly narrative character. Several of the iconograph-
ic motifs of the cycle in the above churches are unique cre-
ations, which mark a renewal of Palaeologan painting.
1. The liturgical development of the Eothina
The name Εοthina1 is given to the eleven Gospel
passages in which the appearances of Christ after the
Resurrection are recounted. They are read during Or-
thros (matins) on the Sundays between Easter and Pen-
tecost, as well as during the Liturgy on the Sunday of
Thomas, the Feast of the Ascension and Pentecost.
According to the Armenian Τypikon of Jerusalem
(5th c.), which is one of the most important sources for
the early systematic reading of Resurrection pericopes,
at Orthros of the Agrypnia-Pannychis (all-night vigil) on
Easter Sunday were read the passages from the four Gos-
pels that recount the visit of the Myrrhophores to the
tomb.2 For this reason in the later typika, which set out
* Owing to the limited length of the present paper, only original ma-
terial is presented from my doctoral thesis (see below n. 10). I wish
to express my gratitude to Prof. Marica Šuput, for making it possi-
ble for me to visit all the churches in which the cycle is depicted, and
also for her help in researching photographic archives, with bibli-
ography and, generally, for all the assistance she gave me during my
research in Belgrade. For the photographic material, bibliography
and stimulating discussions, my warmest thanks go to the academi-
cian G. Subotić, Prof. Β. Τodić, Prof. I. Stevović and the late Prof. I.
Djordjević, whose kindness and generosity will always be engraved
deeply in my heart.
1 The epithet ἑωθινός (-ή, -όν) is derived from the noun ἕως mean-
ing dawn, morning. Cf. H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, Μέγα Λεξικόν τῆς
Ἑλληνικῆς Γλώσσης, Athens 1925, vol. 2, 414. On the liturgical use
of Eothina, v. H. Leclercq, Μatines, DACL 10, 2 (1932), cols. 2677–
2 A. Renoux, Les lectures guadragésimales du rite arménien, Revue
des études arméniennes 5 (1968) 242; S. Janeras, I vangeli domenica-
li della resurrezione nelle tradizioni liturgiche agiopolita e bizantina,
the liturgical practice in Jerusalem, the reading in Or-
thros on Easter Sunday is one of the so-called Gospels of
the Myrrhophores. In the Typikon of St. Sabas monastery
the passage from Matthew (28, 1–20) was read at Orthros
on Easter Sunday.3
Likewise in accordance with the Armenian
Τypikon4 during the services of the first week after Eas-
ter the resurrectional pericopes were read in the follow-
in: Paschale Mysterium. Studi in Memoria dell’ abate prof. Salvatore
Marsili (1910–1983), Rome 1986 (Analecta Liturgica 10), 56. Likewise
according to the Travels of Etheria (4th c.) at Orthros on the Sunday
after Easter at the basilica of the Anastasis (Holy Sepulchre) in Je-
rusalem a Resurrection pericope (Jn. 20, 26–31) was read describ-
ing the Appearance of Christ: τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων (behind the
closed doors) and the Incredulity of Thomas; cf. Éthérie. Journal de
voyage, ed. H. Pétré, Paris 1948 (SC 21), 194–196, 244–245. See also,
P. N. Τrempelas, Λειτουργικοί τύποι Αἰγύπτου καὶ Ἀνατολῆς, Athens
1961, 302; J. Mateos, Quelques problèmes de l’orthros byzantin, Pro-
che-Orient chrétien XI (1961) 17–35, 204, 212–213; R. F. Taft, The Lit-
urgy of the Great Church: an initial synthesis of structure and inter-
pretation on the eve of iconoclasm, DOP 34–35 (1980–1981) 65–66; S.
Kekelidze, Ἱεροσολυμητικὸν Κανονάριον, Jerusalem 1914, 71.
3 P. Ι. Skaltsis, Ἑωθινὰ Εὐαγγέλια, in: Ἱερουργεῖν τὸ Εὐαγγέλιον. Ἡ
Ἁγία Γραφὴ στὴν Ὀρθόδοξη Λατρεία. Πρακτικά του 5ου Πανελληνίου
Λειτουργικού Συμποσίου Στελεχῶν Ἱερῶν Μητροπόλεων, Athens
4 A. Renoux, Un manuscrit du Lectionaire arménien de Jerusalem
(cod. Jerus. arm. 121), Le Muséon 74/3–4 (1961) 377–378.
Fig. 1. Gračanica. The Virgin and the Myrrhophores at the Tomb.
MondayLk. 24, 1–12 The Myrrhophores at the tomb
Τuesday Lk. 24, 13–35 Christ’s appearance on the way to Emmaus
ThursdayLk. 24, 36 Christ’s appearance to the disciples
Friday Jn. 21, 3–14 Christ’s appearance at Lake Tiberias
Saturday Jn. 21, 15–25Peter speaks with Christ
SundayJn. 20, 26–31 The Incredulity of Thomas
Pl. 1. Readings for Easter week in accordance
with the Armenian Typikon of Jerusalem.
It should be pointed out that this practice of read-
ing the Eothina from the Agrypnia on Easter Sunday to
the end of Easter week (Diakainisimos) would later also
be adopted in Constantinople, as attested by the Τypikon
of the Casole (Κασούλων) Monastery, which dates the
11th century: Ίστέον ὅτι ἐν Κωνσταντινουπόλει καὶ ἐν
Παλαιστίνῃ ὅλην τὴν ἑβδομάδα τῆς διακαινησίμου
ψάλλεται εἰς τὸν ὄρθρον τὸ Ἀνάστηθι Κύριε καὶ τὰ
ἑωθινὰ εὐαγγέλια κατὰ τάξιν (“let it be known that in
Constantinople and in Palestine during the week of Eas-
ter the Arise O Lord and the Eothina Gospels readings
will be sung at Orthros”). 5
The reading of the whole Resurrection pericope
from Matthew (28, 1–20) in accordance with the Sabaitic
Τypikon, which, as we know, was included in liturgical rite
of the Serbian Church, explains why in many monuments
from the time of Μilutin all the episodes described by the
Evangelist are depicted (The Myrrhophores at the Tomb,
The Appearance of Christ to the Myrrhophores, the an-
nouncement of the Resurrection by the Myrrhophores and
the last Appearance on the Mount in Galilee).
In contrast, according to the cathedral Τypikon of
the Great Church,6 only the passage 28, 16–20, was read
from the pericope of Matthew (1st Eothinon), which is
the source for the depiction of the last Appearance of
Christ on the Mount in Galilee.
From the 10th–11th centuries there is increasing ev-
idence about the liturgical use of the Eothina Gospels,
especially in monastery typika. The taxis (order) of the
Eothina Gospels is set out in its final form in two im-
portant codices from this time, Codex 40 from Jerusalem
and the Codex 266 from Patmos, which formed the ca-
thedral Typikon of the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.7
Codex 40 from the Monastery of the Holy Cross
in Jerusalem, dating from the 10th century,8 is an espe-
cially important source as it establishes the eleven Eoth-
ina, pericopes to be read at Orthros on Sunday and in
the Liturgy on intervening feasts during Pentecost and
throughout the year.
5 G. Bertonière, The Historical Development of the Easter Vigil and
Related Services in the Greek Church, Roma 1972 (OCA 193), 77, n.
6 See below, n. 8.
7 Ι. Μ. Foudoulis, Ἡ Λειτουργία τῶν Προηγιασμένων καὶ αἱ εὐχαὶ
τῶν ἀντιφώνων καὶ τοῡ Λυχνικοῡ, Επιστημονική Επετηρίς της Θεο-
λογικής Σχολής του Πανεπιστήμου Θεσσαλονίκης 11 (1966) 287.
8 J. Mateos, Le Τypikon de la Grande Eglise II, Roma 1963 (OCP 166),
I Μt. 28, 16–20
II Μk. 16, 1–8
III Μk. 16, 9–20
IV Lk. 24, 1–12
V Lk. 24, 12–35
VILk. 24, 36–53
VII Jn. 20, 1–10
VIII Jn. 20, 11–18
IX Jn. 20, 19–31
X Jn. 21, 1–14
XI Jn. 21, 15–25
Pl. 2. Εothina Pericopes in Codex 40 from the Holy Cross
Codex 266 of Patmos also dates from the same
time.9 Τhe manuscript gives us one of the earliest piec-
es of evidence about the festal structure of the period of
Pentecost, as the choice of the seven Sundays and the in-
tervening feasts had already been established. In the
Typikon of Theotokos Evergetis monastery in Constan-
tinople (beginning of the 12th century) the Eothina read-
ings for Orthros on seven Sundays is established.10
9 A. Dmitrievskij, Opisanie liturgicheskikh rukopisej, I, Hildesheim
10 Ibid., 565–594; R. H. Jordan, The Synaxarion of the Monastery
of the Theotokos Evergetis, The Movable Cycle March - August, Bel-
Fig. 2. Ohrid, Virgin Perivleptos. The Appearance
of Christ at the Mt. in Galilee.
In order for the reading of the eleven pericopes
be completed within the period of Pentecost and corre-
spond with the feasts of the period, the Eothina were kept
in their liturgical taxis so they would not necessarily be
read at the Orthros on Sundays, but also in the Liturgy11
in the following order:
Εothinon I Orthros Sunday of Thomas
Εothinon VIII LiturgySunday of Thomas
Εothinon IV OrthrosSunday of the Myrrophores
Εothinon IILiturgy Sunday of the Myrrophores
Εothinon V OrthrosSunday of the Paralysed Man
Εωθινό VII Orhtros Sunday of the Samaritan Woman
Εωθινό VIIIOrthros Sunday of the Blind Man
Εωθινό IIIOrthros Thursday of the Ascension
Εothinon VI Liturgy Thursday of the Ascension
Εothinon XOrthros Sunday of the Holy Fathers
Εothinon XILiturgySaturday of Pentecost
Εothinon IXOrthros Sunday of Pentecost
Pl. 3. Series of readings of the eleven Eothina during Pentecost
The Myrrhophores at the Tomb (I Eothinon Mt. 28,
1–7. II Eothinon Mk. 16, 1–8. IV Eothinon Lk. 24, 1–10).
In the churches from the time of Milutin, as a rule, the
pericope of Matthew is illustrated, in which it is men-
tioned that the two Myrrhophores visited the Tomb of
In Gračanica (1319–1321) (Fig. 1), alongside the
depiction of the Myrrhophores at the Tomb (Lithos),13
the same scene will be repeated in a distinctive depic-
tion: four women on the right led by the Virgin identi-
fied by the inscription ΜΗ(ΤΗ)Ρ Θ(ΕΟ)Υ and the halo,14
fast 2005, 538-539, 566-568, 588, 590, 606-609, 632-634, 654-657; N.
Zarras, O εικονογραφικός κύκλος των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων στην πα-
λαιολόγεια μνημειακή ζωγραφική των Βαλκανίων (unpub. PhD), Ath-
ens 2006, 55 (hereafter: Zarras, Ο κύκλος των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων).
11 B. K. Exarchos, Τὸ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἰσχύον σύστημα βιβλικῶν
ἀναγνωσμάτων ἐν τοῖς τακτοῖς καιροῖς δημοσίας λατρείας, Α΄. Ὁ
κινητὸς κύκλος, Athens 1935, 55–56.
12 Among the most important examples are: Staro Nagoričino (G.
Millet, A. Frolow, La peinture du Moyen âge en Yougoslavie III, Par-
is 1962, pl. 95, 1, hereafter: Millet, Frolow, La peinture), Chilandar
Monastery (G. Millet, Monuments de l’Athos I. Les peintures, Paris
1927, pl. 73, 1, hereafter: Millet, Athos) and St. Nicetas near Skopje
(Millet, Frolow, La peinture, pl. 45, 2).
13 On the iconography of the scene, v. Α. S. Roe, A Steatite Plaque
in the Museo Sacro of the Vatikan Library, ArtB 23 (1941) 216–218; J.
Villette, La résurrection du Christ dans l’art chrétien du II au VII siè-
cle, Paris 1957, 59–87; L. Rèau, Iconographie de l’art chrétien II, Paris
1956, 538–550; G. Schiller, Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst III,
Gütersloh 1971, 18–31 (hereafter: Schiller, Ikonographie); K. Wessel,
Erscheinungen des Auferstandenen, RbK 2 (1971), cols. 377–378 (he-
reafter: Wessel, Erscheinungen).
14 V. Petković, La peinture serbe du Moyen âge I, Belgrade 1930, pl.
44c; B. Živković, Gračanica. Les dessins des fresques, Belgrade 1989,
sch. III. 9 (hereafter: Živković, Gračanica); B. Todić, Gračanica. Sli-
karstvo, Belgrade–Priština 1998, 124, n. 329, fig. 81 (hereafter: Todić,
Gračanica); idem, Serbian Medieval Painting. The Age of King Milu-
tin, Belgrade 1999, 140, fig. 81 (hereafter: Todić, Serbian Medieval
Painting); N. Zarras, La tradition de la présence de la Vierge dans les
in the middle the sarcophagus without the othonia and
soudarion (shrouds) and on the left the angel of whom
only the right-hand section remains. This unusual repre-
sentation in Gračanica of two depictions with the same
theme, but with a different utilization of the iconograph-
ic elements is, as far as I know, unique and certainly indi-
cates the existence of a different source unrelated to the
Gospel pericopes. The presence of the Virgin, as well as
the absence of iconographic elements such as the othonia
and soudarion, probably reflect the ideas we find in the
texts of the Church Fathers relating to the differing re-
sponses of the Virgin and the Myrrhophores to the fact
of the Resurrection: the Mother of God, who was already
aware of Our Lord’s Resurrection, did not require fur-
ther proof.15 In contrast, in the adjacent scene the σημεῖα
(signs) of the Resurrection are necessary in order for the
Myrrhophores to believe what has happened. In the 14th
century St. Gregory Palamas would declare that Theot-
okos’ prior knowledge of the fact of the Resurrection is a
result of her holiness as Mother of God, in contrast to the
weak faith of Mary Magdalene and the other women.16
The two different ways in which the Lithos is de-
picted in Gračanica lead us to the conclusion that the
first depiction with the Virgin, is an extended form of
the iconographic motif of the I Eothinon presented in the
second depiction. It reflects the conception we find in Pa-
tristic texts from the 14th century, that the Theotokos was
the first to meet Christ after the Resurrection.17
During this period the Virgin is also mentioned in
ecclesiastical literature as one of the Myrrhophores who
comes to the Tomb along with other women.18 We find the
pictorial expression of this tradition also in the scene of
the Appearance of Christ to the Myrrhophores (Chairete)
in Staro Nagoričino (1316–1318) with which the cycle of
Eothina begins at the eastern part of the south wall of the
bema. The third of the Myrrh-bearers, who is portrayed
upright with a halo, is equated with the Theotokos, while
the other two are in the act of revering Christ (Proske-
nysis). 19 The three Myrrhophores are also depicted in a
similar way in the frescoes of St. Prochor Pčinjski, which
have been ascribed to Michael Astrapas and are almost
contemporaneous with those in Staro Nagoričino.20
The Appearance of Christ on the Mount in Gal-
ilee (I Eothinon Mt. 28, 16–20). The scene21 is depicted
in the Peribleptos church at Ochrid (1294–1295)22 (Fig.
scènes du “Lithos” et du “Chairete” et son influence sur l’iconographie
tardobyzantine, Zograf 28 (2001) 115, fig. 2.
15 PG 132, col. 644CD.
16 PG 151, col. 244 BC.
17 Ibid., cols. 237D, 269C.
18 PG 147, col. 561A.
19 Millet, Frolow, La peinture, pl. 95, 1; Todić, Serbian Medieval
20 G. Subotić, D. Todorović, Painter Michael in the Monastery of St.
Prohor Pčinjski, ZRVI 34 (1995) 139–140, sch. 2; G. Subotić, La plus
ancienne peinture murale au monastère Gornjak, Zograf 26 (1997),
fig. on p. 116; Zarras, op. cit., 115.
21 On the iconography of the scene, v. Schiller, Ikonographie, 118–
120. N. Gkioles, “Πορευθέντες”, (Εἰκονογραφικές παρατηρήσεις), Δί-
πτυχα 1 (1979) 104–142 (hereafter: Gkioles, “Πορευθέντες”).
22 D. Ćornakov, Po konservatorskite raboti vo crkvata Sv. Bogorodi-
ca Perivleptos (Sv. Kliment) vo Ohrid, Kulturno nasledstvo 2 (1961)
75, fig. 3.
2), in St. John Kaneo (after 1295),23 in the Protaton on
Mount Athos (ca. 1300),24 in Staro Nagoričino (Fig. 3),25
in Gračanica26 and in the Chilandar Monastery (1320–
1321).27 Christ stands on a low rock at the edge of the
scene, raising his right hand in a gesture of blessing or
speaking, as he turns to the disciples in front of him,
while in his left hand holds the rolled scroll.
On the south wall of the north aisle in Bogorodica
Ljeviška is preserved a badly damaged scene that is still
unidentified. G. Babić has included it within the Eothina
cycle, since it forms part of a group of scenes depicting the
events after the Resurrection.28 Β. Todić takes the same
view, though without giving other details. 29 The figure of
23 P. Miljković-Pepek, Deloto na zografite Mihailo i Eutihij, Skopje
1967, 49, 60 (hereafter: Miljković-Pepek, Deloto); idem, Crkvata sv.
Jovan Bogoslov – Kaneo vo Oxrid, Kulturno nasledstvo 2 (1967), 82,
sch. 3. On the date of the wall-paintings, v. T. Papamastorakis, Ὁ
διάκοσμος τοῡ τρούλου τῶν ναῶν τῆς Παλαιολόγειας περιόδου στή
βαλκανική χερσόνησο καί τήν Κύπρο, Athens 2001, 316–317 (hereaf-
ter: Papamastorakis, Ὁ διάκοσμος τοῡ τρούλου).
24 Millet, Athos, pls. 12.4, 19. 3; J. D. Stefǎnescu, Iconographie de la
Bible. Images bibliques commentées, Paris 1938, pl. LXV; Gkioles,
“Πορευθέντες”, fig. 10.
25 Millet, Frolow, La peinture, pl. 97, 2; B. Todić, Staro Nagoričino,
Belgrade 1993, 110 (hereafter: Todić, Staro Nagoričino); idem, Ser-
bian Medieval Painting, 332.
26 Živković, Gračanica, sch. ΙΙΙ. 8; Todić, Gračanica, 124.
27 Μillet, Frolow, op. cit., pl. 62, 4.
28 D. Panić, G. Babić, Bogorodica Ljeviška, Belgrade 1975, p. 56, sch.
12 (hereafter: Panić, Babić, Bogorodica Ljeviška); B. Živković, Bogo-
rodica Ljeviška. Les dessins des fresques, Belgrade 1991, sch. VII. 9
(hereafter: Živković, Bogorodica Ljeviška).
29 Todić, Serbian Medieval Painting, 312.
Christ in three-quarter profile is shown up to the height
of his chest. He raises his right hand in a gesture of bless-
ing, while his left hand holds a rolled-up scroll. The right-
hand section of the scene, which probably showed the
disciples, has been lost. I believe that it must have depict-
ed the Appearance on the Mount in Galilee (Poreuthen-
des), because this is the scene that completes the Eothina
cycle, which must portray the last Appearance of Christ
to the disciples. This view is supported by the fact that
the last episodes of the cycle in Bogorodica Ljeviška are
depicted in an order that follows the same historical se-
quence found a few years later in Staro Nagoričino and
in Gračanica. In these two churches the last scene of the
Eothina cycle is the Appearance on the Mount in Gal-
ilee. Furthermore, the scene in Ljeviška appears to fol-
low the same iconographic type that is found in the oth-
er churches from the time of Milutin.
On the north face of the south-east pier in St. Nic-
etas near Skopje (after 1321) (Fig. 4), directly below the
scene showing the visit of Peter and John to the Tomb
of Christ is fragmentarily preserved that is probably the
scene of Poreuthendes.30 From the figure of Christ on the
left only the legs remain and of the disciples, depicted
on the right, the first, who must be identified with Pe-
ter, contorts his body dramatically as he bows before
Christ. Following the iconography of the scene at Sta-
ro Nagoričino and Gračanica, at St. Nicetas (aka Čučer)
Christ must have been depicted with the right hand ges-
30 Ibid., 344.
Fig. 3. Staro Nagoričino. The Appearance of Christ on the Mt. in Galilee.
turing as though in the act of speaking, while in his left
hand he held a rolled scroll.
At the Protaton Christ’s halo is inscribed in a
quadrangle with curved sides. During the Palaeologan
period this iconographic element is often found in de-
pictions31 in which the divine nature of Christ is empha-
sized and has been interpreted as a mandorla.32 This view
is supported by the fact that in the dome of Bogorodi-
ca Ljeviška the medallion with the bust of the Pantokra-
tor is inscribed on two acute-angled quadrangles, which
are arranged diagonally one on top of the other, so as to
form an eight-pointed star, and which have also been in-
terpreted as a mandorla of light.33
Indeed, from the second half of the 14th century the
combination of the acute-angled quadrangle with other
geometric forms that represent the glory of Christ, picto-
rially has been fairly frequently observed in depictions of
the Theophany. A characteristic example is the scene of
the Transfiguration in the Paris codex with the theolog-
ical works of the emperor John IX Cantacuzene, which
were influenced by Hesychasm.34 The figure of Christ is
shown in an acute-angled quadrangle, which is inscribed
in a rhomboid mandorla. This double mandorla is cir-
cumscribed within a circle, from the center of which rays
of light shine forth.35 In the examples we have cited, Pa-
tristic thought concerning the glory of Christ, which
symbolizes the very Holiness of the Lord, is reflected in
the most eloquent fashion. Metropolitan Theophanes III
of Nicea (†1380/1381), defender of the ideas of Gregory
Palamas, observes that the light of the Prosopon of the
Lord is Christ himself, while the light of the garments is
the light of the light of his Prosopon (Godhead).36
Consequently, in the depiction of the Poreuthen-
des in the Protaton the depiction of the mandorla only
in the halo of Christ emphasizes two notions: firstly the
holiness of the Risen One, who clearly manifests himself
during the time of his appearances to the circle of the dis-
ciples, and secondly the trans-temporal nature of the ap-
pearances, since in them the dimension of historical time
is abolished.37 This iconographic peculiarity in the Pro-
taton echoes the mystical current of the time and antici-
31 See, for example, the scene of Christ as the Holy Wisdom and An-
gel of Great Counsel in the Virgin Peribleptos at Ochrid [Millet, Frol-
ow, op. cit., pl. 13, 2; D. I. Pallas, Ο Χριστός ως η Θεία Σοφία. H εικονο-
γραφική περιπέτεια μιας θεολογικής έννοιας, ΔΧΑΕ 15 (1989–1990)
135–141], at Lesnovo the illustration of Psalm 148, 1–2 (S. Gabelić,
The Monastery of Lesnovo. History and Painting, Belgrade 1999, pl.
LIII, fig. 87) and at Dečani in scenes from the cycle of Genesis (V.
R. Petković, Dj. Bošković, Manastir Dečani II, Belgrade 1941, pl.
CCLII–CCLVI, CCLXI, hereafter: Petković, Bošković, Dečani).
32 V. Mako, Geometrijski oblici nimbova i mandorli u srednjoveko-
vnoj umetnosti Vizantije, Srbije, Rusije i Bugarske, Zograf 21 (1990)
33 Papamastorakis, Ὁ διάκοσμος τοῡ τρούλου, 77.
34 Ε. Voordeckers, Examen codicologique du Codex Par. gr. 1242,
Scriptorium 21 (1967) 288–294; V. Djurić, Les miniatures du manus-
crit Parisinus Graecus 1242 et le Hésychasme, in: L’art de Thessaloni-
que et des pays balqaniques et les courants spiritueles au XIVe siecle.
Recueil des rapports du IVe colloque serbo-grec (Belgrade 1985), Bel-
grade 1987, 90.
35 V. Lazarev, Storia della pittura bizantina, Torino 1967, fig. 542;
Djurić, op. cit., fig. 2.
36 Ch. Sotiropoulos, Νηπτικοὶ καὶ Πατέρες τῶν μέσων χρόνων,
Athens 1966, 163, f. 98β, vers. 1008–1010, 281.
37 Zarras, O κύκλος των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων, 81–82.
pates the influence of the hesychastic conceptions, which
are, as a rule, reflected in the art of the later Palaeologan
period, with the ornate rendering of the mandorla.
The III Eothinon reading (Μk. 16, 9–18) is the
source for the scene in which Christ rebukes the disciples
for the disbelief with which they greeted the words of the
Myrrh-bearers. It is only depicted at Staro Nagoričino
(1316–1318)38 (Fig. 5) and at Gračanica39 (1319–1321) (Fig.
6). In both depictions we find the same iconographic mo-
tif, with Christ on the right addressing the disciples on
the left, raising his right hand and holding a rolled-up
scroll in his left. This rare iconographic motif appeared
during the Palaeologan period as part of an extension of
the Eothina cycle, but the motif does not appear to have
survived into the post-Byzantine period.40
The depiction of Christ rebuking his disciples for
their lack of faith is found in only two churches, in which
the decoration was carried out by Michael Astrapas and
Eutychios and their workshop. This fact, together with
38 Todić, Staro Nagoričino, 110; idem, Serbian Medieval Painting,
39 Živković, Gračanica, sch. ΙΙΙ, 24.
40 In Hagia Triada at Pljevlja, Montenegro (1592) (S. Petković, The
Monastery of Saint Trinity near Pljevlja, Belgrade 1974, sch. on p.
167) the illustration of the III Eothinon includes the Appearance to
Mary Magdalene, the Appearance to Lukas and Kleopas on the way
to Emmaus and the last Appearance on the Mount in Galilee. The
same episodes are depicted and in the Monastery of Petra [S. Sdrolia,
Οι τοιχογραφίες του Καθολικού της Μονής Πέτρας (1625) και η ζω-
γραφική των ναών των Αγράφων τον 17ο αιώνα, Α–Β (unpub. PhD),
Ιoannina 2000, 217–218, fig. 118]. In the church of Panagia Chryse-
laiousa at Emba on Cyprus (A. and J. Stylianou, The Painted Church-
es of Cyprus, London 1985, 414, pl. 250) only the Noli me tangere is
Fig. 4. Čučer. The Appearance of Christ at the Mt. in Galilee.
the omission of the motif from later extensive Eothina
cycles, demonstrates the artist’s close association with
original artistic creations of the period and of course,
the unquestionably advanced spiritual level they had at-
The Appearance of Christ to Luke and Cleopas on
the way to Emmaus (V Eothinon Lk. 24, 13–28). At Bo-
gorodica Ljeviška,42 Staro Nagoričino43, Gračanica44 and
Chilandar Monastery the narrative type of the scene pre-
vails, 45 whose structure is based on the description of
the event by the evangelist Luke. As Christ advances he
41 On the painters from Thessalonica Michael Astrapas and Euty-
chios, v. S. Kalopissi-Verti, Οἱ ζωγράφοι στὴν ὕστερη βυζαντινὴ
κοινωνία. Ἡ μαρτυρία τῶν ἐπιγραφῶν, in: Τὸ πορτραῖτο τοῦ
καλλιτέχνη στὴν ὕστερη βυζαντινὴ κοινωνία, ed. Μ. Vassilaki, Irák-
lion (1999) 122, n. 1, with bibliography until 1995. See also, Todić,
Serbian Medieval Painting, 227–262 and passim; idem, Signatures des
peintres Michel Astrapas et Eutychios. Fonction et signification, in:
Αφιέρωμα στη μνήμη του Σωτήρη Κίσσα, Thessalonica 2001, 643–
662; Ε. Ν. Κyriakoudis, Το κλασσικιστικό πνεύμα και η καλλιτεχνι-
κή ακμή στη Θεσσαλονίκη, in: ibid., 234–236, 239–244; M. Marković,
Michael`s and Eutychios` artistic work. Present knowledge, dubious
issues and direction of future research, Zbornik Narodnog muzeja
17/2 (2004), 95-113.
42 Panić, Babić, Bogorodica Ljeviška, 56, fig. 13, p. 122, sch. 7;
Živković, Bogorodica Ljeviška, sch. VII. 12.
43 Todić, Staro Nagoričino, 110; idem, Serbian Medieval Painting,
44 S. Radojčić, Gračaničke freske, in: Symposium de Gračanica.
L’art byzantin au debut du XIV siècle, Belgrade 1978, fig. 3; Τοdić,
Gračanica, pl. VI.
45 On the iconography of the scene, v. G. Millet, Recherches sur
l’iconographie de l’Evangile, Paris 19602, 39, 53–55, 641–642, figs.
640–642 (hereafter: Millet, Recherches); Shiller, Ikonographie, 99–
101, figs. 303, 306–309, 312, 315–316; Wessel, Erscheinungen, cols.
386–387; I. Spatharakis, An Exceptional Representation of the Supper
at Emmaus in the Church of St. Antonios at Vrontisi, Crete, in: Stud-
ies in Byzantine Manuscript Illumination and Iconography, London
1996, 252–260 (reprinted in: Λαμπηδών, Αφιέρωμα στη μνήμη της
Ντούλας Μουρίκη II, ed. Μ. Αspra-Vardavakis, Athens 2003, 769–
turns his head back towards the two disciples and raises
his hand in a gesture of speaking, while in his left hand
he usually holds a rolled scroll.
At Bogorodica Ljeviška Christ is not portrayed
with the usual facial features, but en etera morfi46 (in an-
other form) according to the Gospel narration. He has a
youthful face with short hair and beard and we should
note the epikouritha (tonsure) and tunic, the latter dec-
orated with potamoi (decorative gold bands), which end
low down on the border running around the edge of the
tunic. At Staro Nagoričino, where the scene is largely de-
stroyed, Christ is also only wearing a tunic decorated
with potamoi. As far as we can make out, Christ does not
have the features of en etera morfi, as he does at Ljeviška,
but is portrayed as a mature man.
With the depiction of Christ en etera morfi, the
painters were seeking pictorially to represent the trans-
temporal character of Christ’s Theophany. According to
the interpretation of the Church Fathers,47 Christ mani-
fests his divine nature during his meeting with the disci-
ples. This iconographical type of Christ is used very often
in representations of the Supper at Emmaus, in which, as
we shall examine below, it has a symbolic character, asso-
ciated with the Eucharistic character of the scene. Con-
sequently the portrayal in the same scene at Ljeviška has
been influenced by the depiction of the Supper, which is
shown directly adjacent.
Τhe Supper at Emmaus (V Eothinon Lk. 24, 29–
31). 48 In the Virgin Peribleptos at Ochrid49 (Fig. 7) and
in Staro Nagoričino50 (Fig. 8) Christ is depicted in the
act of breaking the bread, while in Bogorodica Ljeviška51
(Fig. 9), in Gračanica52 and in the Chilandar Monastery,53
Christ offers the pieces of bread as he holds his hands out
to Luke and Cleopas.
In the Virgin Peribleptos at Ochrid, the Supper at
Emmaus is depicted in Prothesis with the inscription ΙC
XC O EN ETEΡA ΜΟΡΦΗ.54 Of particular iconograph-
46 Spatharakis (op. cit., 259), points out that in Bogorodica Ljeviška
is found the oldest depiction of Christ en etera morfi, while this type
of Christ is depicted earlier in the Peribleptos church in Ochrid. See
also, N. Zarras, Ο Χριστός «εν ετέρα μορφή», ΔΧΑΕ 28 (2007) 215,
fig. 3 (hereafter: Zarras, Ο Χριστός «εν ετέρα μορφή»).
47 See below, n. 96–97.
48 On the iconography of the scene, v. Millet, Recherches, 53–55, 641,
figs. 643, 645; Η. Feldbusch, Emmaus, in: LCI I, cols. 622–626; Schil-
ler, Ikonographie, 101–104, figs. 304–305, 308–310, 313–314, 316–317;
Wessel, Erscheinungen, cols. 386–387; Spatharakis, op. cit., 249–262,
268–269, figs. 2–6, 9–13; Zarras, op. cit., 213-224.
49 Miljković-Pepek, Deloto, 50, 80, n. 411; Todić, Serbian Medieval
Painting, 140, 143.
50 Millet, Frolow, La peinture III, pl. 98, 1; Todić, Staro Nagoričino,
51 Panić, Babić, Bogorodica Ljeviška, 56, fig. 13, pl. ΧΧΙΙ, 122, sch. 7;
Todić, Serbian Medieval Painting, 142–143, fig. 77.
52 Petković, op. cit. (n. 14), pl. 51b; Τοdić, Gračanica, pl. VI.
53 W. T. Hostetter, In the heart of Hilandar. An interactive presenta-
tion of the frescoes in the main church of the Hilandar monastery of
Mt. Athos, Belgrade 1998 (CD-ROM).
54 Under the inscription ΙC XC O EN ETEΡA ΜΟΡΦΗ Christ is
depicted as isolated figure, either in bust form or shown down
to his waist. He has short hair without tonsure, a short beard
and is dressed in the usual way. In the same iconographical mo-
tif Christ is depicted in the conch of prothesis in the Protaton
(A. Χyngopoulos, Manuel Panselinos, Athinai 1956, sch. on p. 24,
pl. 9; E. N. Τsigaridas, Μανουήλ Πανσέληνος. Ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ ναοῦ
τοῦ Πρωτάτου, Thessalonica 2003, 25, fig. 90) and in the small
Fig. 5. Staro Nagoričino. Christ rebuking
the faithlessness of the disciples.
ic interest is the depiction of Christ with short hair that
comes down only to his ears, the short beard and epikou-
ritha. He wears only a tunic, the neck and sleeve edges of
which are decorated with small circles, picked out with
pearls, enclosing crosses.55 Between Christ and the dis-
ciples four other male figures are depicted in pairs, who
should be identified as servants, since they are shown
without a halo and standing.
Scholars have interpreted the iconographic type
of Christ with short hair, short beard and epikouritha,
which is already known in the middle-Byzantine period,
as indicative of his sacerdotal status.56
In Bοgorodica Ljeviška, where the inscription has
been lost, Christ is depicted with the same physiogno-
mical features. He holds out his hand and offers bread
to the disciple who is still visible on the right and who is
depicted much lower in height than the figure of Christ.
The left section has been lost, but we can surmise that
Christ was also offering bread to the other disciple with
northwestern dome of Βοgorodica Ljeviška (Živković, Bogorodi-
ca Ljeviška, sch. ΙΙ, C3, p. 14). For the interpretation of this icono-
graphical type, v. N. Ζarras, Ο Χριστός “εν ετέρα μορφή”. Εικονο-
γραφικές παρατηρήσεις, in: Εικοστό Δεύτερο Συμπόσιο Βυζαντινής
και Μεταβυζαντινής Αρχαιολογίας και Τέχνης. Κατάλογος περιλή-
ψεων, Athens 2002, 34–35; idem, Ο Χριστός “εν ετέρα μορφή“, 214,
55 Similar circles decorate the sakkos of Christ the Great Archpriest
in representations of the Communion of the Apostles and the Heav-
enly liturgy. Cf. T. Papamastorakis, H μορφή του Χριστού – Μεγάλου
Αρχιερέα, ΔΧΑΕ 17 (1993–1994) 67–70.
56 On the representation of Christ-priest, v. A. M. Lidov, L’image du
Christ-prelat dans le programme iconographique de Sainte Sophie
d’Ohride, Arte Cristiana 79 (1991) 245–250; Papamastorakis, op. cit.,
67–69, with previous bibliography.
a corresponding movement. The potamoi running to the
bottom of his purple tunic, resemble those of the sac-
erdotal sticharia. According to Symeon of Thessaloni-
ca, the potamoi are a distinguishing feature of episcopal
sticharia.57 S. Radojčić conjectures that the decoration of
Christ’s tunic, with crosses in Peribleptos and with pota-
moi in Ljeviška, in conjunction with the tonsure, under-
line Christ’s holiness. 58
In the Protaton on Mt. Athos,59 the central part of
the scene in the conch of diakonikon has suffered signifi-
cant damage. Of the figure of Christ only a small section
of his left side has survived. It is likely that Christ was de-
picted only in a tunic, as he is in Peribleptos and in Bo-
gorodica Ljeviška, and part of its decoration can still be
made out today. The disciple to the left receives the bread
from Christ, while the one to the right holds his arms
in front of his chest, with his palms turned outwards, in
an expression of surprise. From the disciples’ gestures we
understand that Christ is stretching out his right hand
to offer bread to the disciple, while his left hand must be
around the level of the chest.60
The position of the hands in the breaking and dis-
tribution of the pieces of bread semantically links the
57 PG 155, col. 256BC.
58 S. Radojčić, Die Enstehung der Malerei der paläologischen Re-
naissance, JÖBG 7 (1958) 115–116; Τοdić, Serbian Medieval Paint-
59 Miljković-Pepek, Deloto, 80, n. 411; V. J. Djurić, Ravanički živopis i
liturgija, in: Μanastir Ravanica. Spomenica o šestoj stogodišnjici, Bel-
grade 1981, 54; D. Κalomoirakis, Παρατηρήσεις στο εικονογραφικό
πρόγραμμα του Πρωτάτου, ΔΧΑΕ 14/15 (1989–1990) 202; Zarras, Ο
Χριστός «εν ετέρα μορφή», 216-217, fig. 7; Τsigaridas, op. cit., 25–26.
60 Zarras, Ο κύκλος των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων, 105.
Fig. 6. Gračanica. Christ rebuking the faithlessness of the disciples.
Supper at Emmaus with the Last Supper. The presence
of Christ has unambiguous Eucharistic symbolism,61
for according to Theophanes Kerameus it symbolical-
ly connotes the revelation of Christ in the Holy Eucha-
rist, in which the Risen Christ is eternally present.62 Con-
sequently, though the figure of Christ in the Supper at
Emmaus has no historical foundation, it underlines his
presence through time in the unceasing celebration of
the Holy Eucharist. The dimension of Christ that exists
61 On the Eucharistic symbolism of the Supper at Emmaus, see S.
Radojčić, Der Klassizismus und Tendenzen in der Malerei des 14
Jahrhunderts bei den Orthodoxen Balkanslaves und den Rumänen,
in: Actes du XIVe Congrès international des études byzantines (Bu-
carest 6–12 Septembre 1971) Ι, Bucharest 1974, 192; Djurić, op. cit.,
54–55; D. Simić-Lazar, Kalenić et la dernière période de la peinture
byzantine, Paris 1995, 60–61, n. 153; B. Todić, Τradition et innova-
tions dans le programme et l’iconographie des fresques de Dečani, in:
Dečani et l’art byzantin au milieu du XIVe siècle, Beograd 1989, 254;
idem, Serbian Medieval Painting, 142–143.
62 PG 132, col. 657C.
outside time is represented by his youthful image, which
transcends the limits of historical time and symbolizes
the imperishability and eternal beauty of the Godhead.63
The Eucharistic character of the depiction is clear-
ly shown by its location in the sanctuary. In St. Antonios
at Vrontisi in Crete (the end of 14th c.) the depiction of the
Supper at Emmaus is depicted on the apse of the bema.
64 The scene, as has already been observed,65 forms an in-
tegral part of a wider composition of liturgical themes,
which start from the upper part of the vault of the bema
with the composition of the Heavenly liturgy, and con-
tinue in the apse with the Communion of the Apostles
and the Supper at Emmaus.
The Appearance of Christ ton thiron kekleismenon
– Behind the Closed Doors (VI Eothinon Lk. 24, 36–
40).66 In the passages from Luke and John this episode
is described in the same way, except for one difference.
In the narration of the first evangelist Christ blesses the
frightened disciples, while according to John (Eothinon
IX) Christ shows the disciples the wounds of his Passion.
In the churches from the reign of Μilutin the passage of
John is more frequently illustrated, as will be discussed
In the north aisle of Bogorodica Ljeviška, among
the scenes of the appearances after the Resurrection,
there survives a small section of a ruined scene that still
remains identified.67 Christ holds out his left hand to one
side and blesses the disciples who are at the right of the
scene. It is likely that his right hand was also depicted
in the same way. Consequently, Christ must have been
shown frontally, blessing the apostles on both sides, with
his two hands. This portrayal is typical of Christ in all
the monuments, in which the pericope from Luke is il-
lustrated. 68 Consequently, the partially surviving scene
at Ljeviška, must depict the Appearance of Christ ton thi-
In the church of the Ascension at Žiča (ca. 1310)
the scene in question no longer exists. According to the
drawing made by M. Valtrović and D. Milutinović,69 it
was depicted under the tympanum of the north wall,
63 On this topic, v. G. Galavaris, The Illustrations of the Prefaces in
Byzantine Gospels, Wien 1979, 108–109, n. 114–115; D. Ι. Pallas, Ο
Χριστός ως Θεία Σοφία. Η εικονογραφική περιπέτεια μιας θεολογικής
έννοιας, ΔΧΑΕ 15 (1989–1990) 119–144.
64 K. Gallas, K. Wessel, M. Borboudakis, Byzantinisches Kreta, Mün-
chen 1983, fig. 71; Spatharakis, op. cit., 260, fig. 2, 4. On the dating of
the wall-paintings at the end of the 14th century, v. Papamastorakis,
Ὁ διάκοσμος τοῦ τρούλου, 150–151.
65 Papamastorakis, op. cit., 150.
66 Οn the iconography of the scene, v. W. Medding, Erscheinung
Christi vor den Aposteln, in: LCI 1, cols. 671–672; Schiller, Ikonogra-
phie, 104–108; Wessel, Erscheinungen, col. 383; Gkioles, “Πορευθέ-
ντες”, 123–125, 130–142.
67 Babić (Bogorodica Ljeviška, 122, sch. 12) includes the scene in the
cycle of Appearances and records it as an appearance of Christ to
68 See, for example, St. Apostles at Peć (Petković, La peinture, II, pl.
ΧΧVI), Sopoćani (Μillet, Frolow, La peinture, II, pl. 3, 3; V. J. Djurić,
Sopoćani, Belgrade 1963, pls. XXIV–XXV), Panagia Hodegetria at
Peć [M. Ιvanović, Bogorodičina crkva u Pećkoj patrijaršiji, Belgrade
1972, pl. 32; eadem, Crkva Bogorodice Odigitrije u Pećkoj patrijaršiji,
SKM ΙI–ΙII (1972–1973) 144, fig. 33], Dečani (Petković, Bošković,
Dečani, pl. CCXIX) and Curtrea de Argeş (O. Τafrali, Monuments
byzantins de Curtéa de Argeş I–II, Paris 1931, 72–73, pl. ΧXXVII).
69 Izlozi srpskog učenog društva, Belgrade 1978, 198.
Fig. 7. Ohrid, Virgin Perivleptos. The Supper at Emmaus.
Fig. 8. Staro Nagoričino. The Supper at Emmaus.
beside the scene of the Incredulity of Thomas, in ac-
cordance with the established iconographic motif.70 V.
Djurić71 supported the view that the iconographical pro-
gramme of the Holy Apostles at Peć (ca. 1260), the old-
est church in the new Archiepiscopal see of the Serbi-
an Church, followed the programme of the Holy Sion at
Jerusalem,72 which was also dedicated to the Holy Apos-
tles.73 Τhis programme was carried out by Arsenius,
the second Archbishop of the newly-established Serbi-
an Church. Furthemore, Djurić stated that the icono-
graphical programme of Žiča during the second phase
of the wall-paintings in about 1310, was carried out ac-
cording to that of the first phase in 1220, as well as the
programme of the Holy Apostles at Peć.74 Consequently,
the depiction of the iconographic theme of the Appear-
ance ton thiron kekleismenon, as well as the Increduli-
ty of Thomas, both in the Holy Apostles and at Žiča, are
a result of the influence of Palestinian iconography, ac-
cording to Djurić. 75 Owing to its link with the church
of Sion at Jerusalem, Žiča is referred to in the sources as
the mother of churches.76 If we accept these views, it fol-
lows that the destroyed scene of the Appearance of Christ
ton thiron kekleismenon at Žiča, which is fragmentari-
ly known to us from the drawing made by Valtrović and
Milutinović, had the same iconographic scheme as that
of the original scene in the church, which we can indi-
rectly reconstruct from the still-surviving copy in the
Holy Apostles at Peć.
The meal with fish and honey (VI Eothinon Lk. 24,
41–43). According to the tradition,77 the church of Sion
was constructed at the locus sanctus known as the hy-
peroon (Upper Room), where the Appearance ton thiron
70 For the scene, v. V. R. Petković, Spasova crkva u Žiči. Arhitektu-
ra i živopis, Belgrade 1912, 51–52; V. J. Djurić, La peinture murale
serbe au XIIIe siècle, in: L’art byzantin du XIII siècle. Symposium de
Sopoćani, Belgrade 1967, 163 (hereafter: Djurić, La peinture serbe); B.
Τodić, Najstarije zidno slikarstvo u Svetim apostolima u Peći, ZLU 18
(1982) 26–27 (hereafter: Τodić, Sveti Apostoli u Peći); idem, Mileševa i
Žiča. Tematske i ikonografske paralele, in: Mileševa dans l’histoire du
peuple serbe, Belgrade 1987, 87–88; idem, Serbian Medieval Painting,
154–155; idem, Τopografigija žičkih fresaka, in: Manastir Žiča. Zbor-
nik radova, Kraljevo 2000, 114, fig. 2.
71 Djurić, La peinture serbe, 162–163; idem, Sveti Sava i slikarstvo nje-
govog doba, in: Sava Nemanjić – Saint Sava. Histoire et Tradition,
Belgrade 1979, 252–253. See also, Todić, Sveti Apostoli u Peći, 21.
72 Οn the church of Sion, v. A. Heisenberg, Ikonographische Studien,
München 1922, 94–99; H. Vincent, F. M. Abel, Jerusalem. Recher-
ches de topographie, d’archeologie et d’histoire II. Jerusalem nouvel-
le, Paris 1914, 421–459; H. Plommer, The Cenacle on Mount Sion, in:
Crusader Art in the Twelfth Century, ed. J. Folda, Oxford 1982, 139–
149, pls. 6.1a–6.16b; Β. Pixner, Church of the Apostles Found on Mt.
Zion, Βiblical Αrchaeology Review 16/3 (1990) 17–36; Κ. Βieberstein,
H. Bloedhorn, Jerusalem. Grundzüge der Baugeschichte von Chalko-
lithikum bis zur Frühzeit der osmanischen Herrschaft II, Wiesbaden
73 Vincent, Abel, op. cit., 448 ff.
74 V. J. Djurić, Byzantinische Fresken in Jugoslawien, Münich 1976,
68, n. 50 (hereafter: Djurić, Byzantinische Fresken); V. J. Djurić, S.
Ćirković, V. Korać, Pećka patrijaršija, Belgrade 1990, 48–51. See also,
S. Tomeković, Les saints ermites et moines dans le décor du narthex de
Mileševa, in: Mileševa dans l’histoire du peuple serbe, 63; Τodić, Ser-
bian Medieval Painting, 156.
75 Τhe same view is expressed from Τodić, op. cit., 155–157.
76 Τhe same name is borne of course by the church of St. Apostles
in Peć, because of its iconographic links with the church of Sion. Cf.
Djurić, La peinture serbe, 162; Todić, op. cit.
77 This tradition is confirmed by Hesychios of Jerusalem, cf. PG 93,
col. 1445Β, 1448Β. See also, Vincent, Abel, op. cit., 474.
kekleismenon and the meal with the disciples occurred.
For this reason some scholars78 have suggested that the
78 S. Radojčić, Staro srpsko slikarstvo, Belgrade 1966, 46; G. Babić,
Les chapelles annexes des églises byzantines, Paris 1969, 91–92; B.
Τodić, Tema Sionskoj cerkvi v hramovnoj dekoracii XIII–XIV vv., in:
Fig. 9. Bogorodica Ljeviška. The Supper at Emmaus.
Fig. 10. Staro Nagoričino. The meal with fish and honey.
scene in which Christ eats fish and honey, must be de-
picted in the church of Sion together with the Appear-
ance ton thiron kekleismenon or the Incredulity of Thom-
In Staro Nagoričino79 (Fig. 10), in Gračanica80 (Fig.
11) and probably in St. Nicetas near Skopje (ca. 1322)81 is
found the hieratic iconographic type of the scene, with
Christ facing forward, in front of a closed door, stretch-
ing out his hand above the food that is being offered to
him on plates by the first two disciples from each group
on either side of him. This type is a seminal work of the
Palaeologan period, directly or indirectly linked with the
artistic productions of Michael Astrapas and Eutychios.
The scene is depicted later in the Holy Trinity in
Manasija (1407–1413),82 but in a way that suggests a dif-
ferent iconographic model from that used by the above
artists, one that also manifests a different ideological ba-
sis, since emphasis is given to the meal.83
Ierusalim v russkoj kul’ture, Moskva 1994, 34–36; idem, Serbian Me-
dieval Painting, 157.
79 Idem, Staro Nagoričino, fig. 69 (general view of the north wall –
fourth zone on the right). See also, Miljković-Pepek, Deloto, 59, sch.
80 Petković, Peinture serbe, II, pl. LXXIX; Τodić, Gračanica, 124, fig.
81 Τodić, Serbian Medieval Painting, 344. The scene on the south side
of the NE pier has suffered significant damage.
82 V. J. Djurić, Resava, Belgrade 1963, p. XV, pl. 42; B. Živković, Ma-
nasija. Les dessins des fresques, Belgrade 1983, sch. IV.3.
83 Zarras, Ο κύκλος των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων, 129–130.
Over the long period of time (approximate-
ly 90 years) that separates St. Nicetas near Skopje from
Μanasija, the scene in which Christ eats fish and honey is
only found in the southern Peloponnesus. In the Panag-
ia Hodegetria (Afendiko) in Mistra (2nd decade of the 14th
c.),84 Christ is depicted in three-quarter profile, surround-
ed by the disciples, while he eats from the plates held out
by the first two figures in the right-hand group, while in
his left hand he holds a rolled-up scroll under his folded-
back garment (Fig. 12). This iconographic type, which I
would call narrative, proliferates in the area of the Des-
potate of the Morea because of the influence of the Pa-
nagia Hodegetria.85 It is quite different from the motif es-
tablished in the churches from the time of Milutin.
The fact that this motif already exists in west-
ern works from the middle-Byzantine period,86 together
with the similarities observable between these works and
those in churches in Serbia, are compelling reasons for us
to explain its presence in churches from the time of Mi-
lutin and in Manasija as a result of western influences.
The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene
(VIII Eothinon Jn. 20, 15–17). In Staro Nagoričino87 and
Gračanica88 (Fig. 13) is found the eastern iconograph-
ic type of the scene.89 Christ is depicted next to Mary
Magdalene, in conversation with her. This configura-
tion was significantly influenced by the theological en-
vironment created by the interpretations of Scripture by
the Fathers of the eastern Church. According to these,
with the words Mi mou aptou (Do not touch me) Christ
does not forbid Mary Magdalene to touch him, but rath-
er seeks to prepare and initiate her into the new circum-
stances that have been brought about by the fact of his
Resurrection, as far as the relationship of the God-Man
with the world is concerned. The meeting of Christ and
Mary Magdalene is interpreted in this way by St. John
Chrysostom,90 St. Cyril of Alexandria91 and Theophanes
The western type, with Christ standing back from
Mary Magdalene in order to avoid her touch, such as we
84 S. Dufrenne, Les programmes iconographiques des eglises de Mis-
tra, Paris 1970, 28, 31, fig. 11.
85 In Evangelistria at Mistra (early 15th c.), in St. Apostles (1370–1390)
and in St. George at Leondari (1375–1376). Cf. G. Millet, Monuments
byzantins de Mistra, Paris 1910, pl. 136, 1; Dufrenne, op. cit., 17, 28;
O. Chassoura, Les peintures murales byzantines des églises de Longa-
nikos, Laconie, Athènes 2002, 145–148, fig. 39.
86 See, for example, the ivory panel in Darmstadt and the Egbert
Εvangelistar. Cf. Schiller, Ikonographie, 107, fig. 276; F. J. Ronig, Co-
dex Egberti. Das Perikopenbuch des Erzbischops Egbert von Trier
(977–993), Trier 1977, f. 89.
87 Millet, Frolow, La peinture, III, pl. 95, 1; Μiljković-Pepek, Delo-
to, fig. 150.
88 Petković, op. cit., pl. LXXXVIII.
89 On the iconography of the scene, v. Millet, Recherches, 540–
554; Schiller, Ikonographie, 3, 91–95; Wessel, Erscheinungen, cols.
379–382; A. Κalliga-Geroulanou, Ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ Μὴ μου ἅπτου στὰ
βυζαντινὰ μνημεῖα καὶ ἡ μορφὴ ποὺ παίρνει τὸν 16ο αἰώνα, ΔΧΑΕ
Δ΄/Γ΄ (1962–1963) 203–230; N. Ζarras, Εικονογραφικές παρατηρήσεις
στην παράσταση της Εμφάνισης του Χριστού στη Μαρία Μαγδαληνή,
in: Γ΄ Συνάντηση Βυζαντινολόγων Ελλάδος και Κύπρου (Rethymnon,
22–24 September 2000), Rethymnon 2002, 122–124; idem, Ο κύκλος
των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων, 140–149.
90 PG 59, col. 469.
91 PG 74, col. 696C.
92 PG 132, col. 680A.
Fig. 11. Gračanica. The meal with fish and honey.
find in Dečani,93 has a different theological basis. In west-
ern ecclesiastical writings Mary Magdalene is identified
with the sinful woman who anoints Jesus during the din-
ner held in his honour by the Pharisee, as Pope Gregory I
relates in his 33rd homily on the Gospels.94
In Gračanica Christ is shown in a star burst man-
dorla, which is in turn enclosed in an oval. The mandor-
la in scenes depicting the appearances of Christ (Theo-
phanies) symbolizes the eternal luminous light of the
Resurrection,95 surrounding the figure of the Lord with
rays as it diffuses his divinity. An example of this is found
In the Patristic writings of the Palaeologan pe-
riod we find that the light of the Godhead of the Risen
Christ is identified with the light that surrounds the fig-
ure of Christ during His Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor.
Light, as a physical expression of divine glory, is accord-
ing to St. Gregory Palamas96 the light of the Transfigura-
tion, the glory of God, which the disciples saw on Tabor.
This light according to Theoleptos of Philadelphia (1250–
1322)97 “opens” the spiritual eyes of Luke and Cleopas to
the Theophany at Emmaus.98
The ornate representation of the mandorla in
Gračanica, like those found in depictions of the Transfig-
uration, can be considered the pictorial representation of
these conceptions of Christ’s appearances after the Res-
surection, as they were formulated by the leading expo-
nents of Hesychasm. In any case, we know that hesychas-
tic theology concerning the Light of Tabor influenced its
pictorial representation in the iconography of the Trans-
figuration with the form of geometric shapes. Further-
more, both in Gračanica and in other churches included
in the artistic output of Michael Astrapas and Eutychios,
the influence of hesychastic ideas has been identified99 in
the rendering of the light in the Pantokrator’s mandorla
in the decoration of the dome.
Christ shows the disciples the wounds of his Passion
(IX Eothinon Jn. 20, 19–23). The scene is found in Bogo-
rodica Ljeviška (Fig. 14),100 Staro Nagoričino (Fig. 15),101
Gračanica (Fig. 16)102 and in Chilandar Monastery.103
Christ is shown facing forward in front of a closed door,
flanked by disciples and holding out his hand with the
wounds of his Passion.
In Bogorodica Ljeviška the scene is rendered in an
unusual way. Christ is shown elevated above the head of
93 Petković, Bošković, Dečani, pl. ΧΧΙV. This type is also found in St.
Sava of Kyriotissa (third quarter of the 14th century) in Veroia, cf. Th.
Papazotos, Η Bέροια και οι ναοί της. Ιστορική και αρχαιολογική σπου-
δή των μνημείων της πόλης, Αthens 1994, 181–182, 260–26, pl. 54d.
94 PL 76, cols. 1238D–1239Α.
95 PG 94, col. 1101 A.
96 Gregory Palamas, Ὑπέρ τῶν ἱερῶς ἡσυχαζόντων, ed. P. Christou,
2, Thessalonica 1982, 642–643.
97 Ι. Κ. Grigoropoulos, Θεολήπτου Φιλαδελφείας τοῦ Ὁμολογητοῦ
(1250–1322). Βίος καὶ ἔργα, Β΄, Κaterini 1996, 290–302.
98 Zarras, Ο κύκλος των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων, 144; Zarras, Ο Χριστός
«εν ετέρα μορφή», 222.
99 Papamastorakis, Ὁ διάκοσμος τοῦ τρούλου, 284–297.
100 Panić, Babić, Bogorodica Ljeviška, 122 sch. 7, fig. 14; Živković, Bo-
gorodica Ljeviška, sch. VII. 15; Gkioles, “Πορευθέντες”, 134, n. 101.
101 Τοdić, Serbian Medieval Painting, 322.
102 Živković, Gračanica, sch. ΙΙΙ, 30.
103 Millet, Athos, pl. 62, 4.
his anxious disciples, showing the marks of the Passion
in the hands and side, as described in the Gospel peri-
cope from John. As has already been pointed out, the el-
evation of Christ at the moment he appears to the disci-
ples, is only mentioned in the pericope from Luke (24,
51), showing the Ascension of Christ immediately after
his appearance before the disciples.
The singularity of the depiction in Ljeviška is both
in the absence of basic iconographical elements usual-
ly found in the motif, such as the closed doors, and in
the introduction of elements from the iconography of the
Ascension. For example, the elevation of Christ, as well
as the poses and gestures of the disciples as they gaze up-
ward in astonishment, are strongly reminiscent of cor-
responding poses and gestures in the iconography of the
Ascension. This view is confirmed by the fact that in the
post-Byzantine wall-paintings in the first narthex of the
Monastery of John the Forerunner in Serres (1630), the
artist illustrating the 6th Eothina Gospel, will link the
Blessing of the disciples with the Ascension.104
The Appearance of Christ at Lake Tiberias (X Eoth-
inon Jn. 21, 1–11). The scene105 is found in Bogorodica
Ljeviška,106 in Staro Nagoričino (Fig. 17),107 in Gračanica
(Fig. 18)108 and in Chilandar Monastery.109 Christ is
shown on the shore of the lake and as a rule is raising his
hand as though to speak. In his left hand holds a rolled-
up scroll. Next to Christ’s feet the glowing embers are
shown with the fish and bread. Τhe remaining section is
occupied by the boat with the disciples.
In Bogorodica Ljeviška there is a detailed depic-
tion of all the minor episodes that accompany the Ap-
pearance at Lake Tiberias. However, the main scene
on the north wall of the Prothesis has been almost en-
tirely lost with only the right-hand part of the figure of
Christ still surviving. The lack of further iconographical
elements does not permit us to make a thorough study.
However it should be emphasized that Ljeviška is the first
surviving example in monumental painting of the depic-
tion of this theme in the Sanctuary. Immediately adja-
cent to the eastern wall is illustrated verse 9 of the pas-
sage from John: ὡς οὖν ἀπέβησαν εἰς τὴν γῆν, βλέπουσιν
ἀνθρακιάν κειμένην καὶ ὀψάριον ἐπικείμενον καὶ ἄρτον.
Τhis particular episode, which follows the miraculous
catch of fish and precedes the meal, is, according to the
surviving monuments, only depicted as an isolated scene
at Ljeviška. The position of the scene in this place clear-
ly emphasizes its Eucharistic character. The same scene is
linked with that of the meal in the Hagia Sophia at Trebi-
104 A. Xyngopoulos, Αἱ τοιχογραφίαι τοῦ καθολικοῦ τῆς Μονῆς
Προδρόμου παρά τάς Σέρρας, Thessalonica 1973, 77, pls. 66, 69. Gki-
oles, “Πορευθέντες”, 135.
105 Οn the iconography of the scene, v. Millet, Recherches, 571–576;
Schiller, Ikonographie, 114–117; LCI, 4, col. 301–303; Wessel, Erschei-
nungen, cols. 387–388.
106 Panić, Babić, op. cit., 121, sch. 5; Živković, Bogorodica Ljeviška,
sch. VII, 2.
107 Millet, Frolow, La peinture, III, pl. 96, 2; Todić, Staro Nagoričino,
132, fig. 62.
108 Petković, Peinture serbe, II, pl. LXXIX.
109 Millet, Frolow, op. cit., pl. 63, 1.
110 D. T. Rice, The Church of Hagia Sophia at Trebizond, Edinburgh
1968, 125, 171–172, 235–244, fig. 88, pls. 47–48; A. Eastmond, Art
In Staro Nagoričino111 (Fig. 19) is depicted the ep-
isode of the apostles carrying the net, from the boat to
the shore, as related in John (21, 8). The seven disciples
carry the net on their shoulders and make their way to-
wards Christ. Judging from his physiognomical features,
the first of these must be Peter, whose presence is con-
firmed by the Gospel pericope (21, 11). In middle-Byzan-
tine iconography we only find the scene of the nets being
dragged by Peter, or with the help of the other disciples.
In Dečani the episode of the transportation of the nets is
not shown as an isolated scene, but forms part of the Ap-
pearance by Lake Tiberias.112
and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Βyzantium. Hagia Sophia and the
Empire of Trebizond, Birmingham 2004, 110–111, pl. ΙΧ, fig. 83.
111 Τodić, Staro Nagoričino, 110, fig. 61; idem, Serbian Medieval
Painting, fig. 78.
112 B. V. Popović, Program živopisa u oltarskom prostoru, in: Zidno
slikarstvo manastira Dečana. Gradja i studije, Βelgrade 1995, 83–84;
B. Todić, M. Čanak-Medić, Manastir Dečani, Belgrade 2005, 389;
Zarras, O κύκλος των εωθινών Ευαγγελίων, 168, fig. 145.
Τhe meal at Tiberias (X Eothinon Jn. 21, 12–14). In
Bogorodica Ljeviška113 (Fig. 20) the scene is depicted on
the south wall of the Prothesis. Christ stands on the left,
blessing with his right hand and holding in his left the
bread and the fish, which he holds out to three disciples.
Christ is represented in a similar manner in the Monas-
tery of Spaš Mirožski at Pškov.114
Next to the depiction of the meal in Ljeviška,
Christ is shown with three disciples. This badly damaged
scene, has been identified115 with the third appearance of
Christ to the disciples, which is more generally called by
John (21, 14) the Appearance at the Lake Tiberias and
consequently all the episodes that form part of it are clas-
sified under this name. The artist most probably depicts
the moment when Christ summons the disciples to eat.116
This view is supported by the fact that the same episode
is depicted in a similar manner in Par. gr. 74, f. 212.117 It
should be observed that in the Paris codex the summons
to the disciples is placed after the Appearance at Lake Ti-
berias and before the Supper, exactly as it is in Bogorod-
In Patristic texts the Eucharistic character of the
meal at Lake Tiberias is emphasized, since the use of
bread and fish refer to the liturgical life of the ancient
Church. The gesture of Christ at Ljeviška, offering the
bread and the fish to the disciples while blessing them
with his right hand, links the meal at Lake Tiberias with
the Divine Liturgy.118 Indeed, Gregory Palamas119 states
that with the gesture of blessing the bread Christ af-
firmed his identity. The depiction of the meal in the Pro-
thesis at Ljeviška is fully justified by the Eucharistic char-
acter of the theme.
The dialogue of Christ with Peter (XI Eothinon
Jn. 21, 15–19). The scene is known in western works of
art from the 9th century,120 while in Byzantine art the
theme121 appears during the Palaeologan period.
In Bogorodica Ljeviška,122 where the scene has
been destroyed, Christ is depicted on the left. He rais-
es his right hand and in his left hold a rolled-up scroll.
G. Babić123 stated that in the now lost right-hand section
Peter would have been depicted with the apostles behind
him. Consequently, the scene in Ljeviška follows the
iconographic motif that is also found in later depictions
113 Panić, Babić, op. cit., 121, sch. 5; Živković, op. cit, sch. VII. 2.
114 Millet, Recherches, 573–574, fig. 607; V. N. Lazarev, Οld Russian
Murals and Mosaics, London 1966, 102, fig. 79.
115 Panić, Babić, op. cit., 54, fig. 11; Živković, op. cit., sch. VII. 3.
116 Zarras, op. cit., 179–180.
117 H. Omont, Évangiles avec peintures byzantines du XIe siècle, Pa-
ris 1908, pl. 186.
118 PG 74, col. 749Α.
119 PG 151, col. 301D.
120 Schiller, Ikonographie, 117–118, figs. 383–384.
121 On the iconography of the scene, v. Schiller, op. cit., 117–118; H.
Belting, Die Basilica dei Ss. Martiri in Cimitile und ihr frühmittelal-
terlicher Freskenzyklus, Wiesbaden 1962, n. 219, with the previous
122 Panić, Babić, op. cit., 54, sch. 11 and 121, sch. 5.
123 Ibid., 56.
Fig. 12. Mistras, Panagia Hodegetria. The meal with fish and honey.
of the theme, as in Dečani124 and the Panagia Gouverni-
otissa in Crete.125
Peter asks Christ about John (XI Eothinon Jn. 21,
20–25). The scene is an original work of the Palaeologan
period, which is only found in churches from the time of
Μilutin. In Staro Nagoričino (Fig. 21)126 and in Gračanica
(Fig. 22)127 it is depicted on the north wall of the Bema,
before the last Appearance of Christ on the mountain in
Galilee. As Christ moves forward he turns back to an-
swer Peter’s question, as the latter shows Him John, who
is following with the other disciples. In St. Niketa near
Skopje the artist places the figures in a different way from
their positions in the above mentioned churches. Peter is
further away from the other figures and is almost next
to Christ as he walks. They converse together in a lively
manner, as is apparent from the expression on their fac-
es and their gestures. John follows further behind with
the other disciples. In this way the artist, who is faithful
to the details of the text, wishes to give the impression
that John is not taking part in their conversation, as Pe-
ter secretly but eagerly asks Christ what life has in store
for John. The inscription which annotates the depiction
is Christ’s severe response to Peter according to Jn. 21, 22:
gl(agol)e petry j(isou)s(o)vi: a &v<y> <q>(yto)
yjïe<t> aïe xoïe da i ty prhbii[v]-a<!>ty
dokle dog+, ïo to tebe ti idi i po mnh
(Јован 21, 21-22).128
The atmosphere created by the expression and ges-
tures of the figures depicted is eloquently reflected in the
interpretations of the scene found in Patristic writings,
of which those of Cyril of Alexandria129 and Nikephorus
Kallistus Xanthopoulos130 are the most representative.
3. The place of the Eothina cycle in the churches’ icon-
ographic programme and the influence of the liturgi-
cal use of the sources in the arrangement of the scenes
It is apparent from the surviving examples that
Bogorodica Ljeviška contained the first extended Eothi-
na cycle, with twelve or thirteen scenes, of which six are
in the nave, four in the Prothesis and two in the north
aisle.131 The inclusion of the cycle, with such a large num-
ber of scenes, in the iconographic programme of the Byz-
antine church was a pioneering undertaking in its time,
largely due to the artistic personality of Michel Astra-
124 Petković, La peinture, II, pl. CXXVIII.
125 M. Vassilakis-Mavrakakis, Τhe Church of the Virgin Gouverni-
otissa at Potamies, Krete, London 1986 (unpublished doctoral diser-
tation), 225, fig. 166.
126 Millet, Frolow, op. cit., pl. 97, 2; Todić, Staro Nagoričino, 110, fig.
127 Todić, Gračanica, 124; idem, Serbian Medieval Painting, 332. Τhe
same iconographic motif is found and in Curtea de Argeş, cf. Tafrali,
op. cit. (n. 67), pl. XXXVI, 2.
128 Τhe same inscription is found in Curtea de Argeş judging by the
French translation from Stefănescu, op. cit. (n. 24), 26.
129 PG 74, col. 753ΒC.
130 PG 145, col. 740D.
131 R. Hamann – Mac Lean, H. Ηallensleben, Die Monumentalmale-
rei in Serbien und Makedonien von 11 bis zum frühen 14 Jahrhundert,
Giessen 1976, sch. 24, IV, 1–2, 25, IV, 4–7. The scenes in the prothe-
sis are not recorded.
Fig. 13. Gračanica. The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene.
Fig. 14. Bogorodica Ljeviška. Christ shows the
disciples the wounds of his Passion.
The arrangement of the scenes from the cycle on
the side walls of the central aisle at Ljeviška was to some
extent determined by the liturgical use of the sources. On
the south wall the events depicting the visit of the Myrrh-
bearing Women to the Tomb are an unusual combina-
tion of the I and II Eothina, which are read at Orthros
on the Sunday of Thomas and the Liturgy on the Sun-
day of the Myrrhophores. On the north wall opposite,
the events linked to Christ’s appearance at Emmaus are
depicted (the journey, the Supper, the announcement of
the Resurrection) as described in the V Eothinon, which
is read on the following Sunday of the Paralyzed Man.
The cycle continues in the Prothesis, where the artist has
depicted Christ’s appearance at Lake Tiberias (X Eoth-
inon) and the events connected with this. The location
of the meal at Tiberias on the south wall of the Prothe-
sis is justified by the Eucharistic nature of the theme. For
the same reason, in several churches the scenes depicting
meals are located in the Sanctuary. Examples of this are
the location of the Supper at Emmaus in the Prothesis of
the Peribleptos in Ochrid, in the conch of the diakonikon
in the Protaton and in the Chilandar Monastery.
Soon after painting Bogorodica Ljeviška, Michael
Astrapas and Eutychios went on to complete the Eothina
cycle at Staro Νagoričino,132 uniting the three parts of the
cycle as at Ljeviška, in a continuous frieze-like band that
runs along all the walls. The cycle begins on the south
wall of the Bema, continues on the south and north walls
of the nave and comes to an end on the north wall of
the Bema.133 In accordance with artistic developments of
the time regarding depictions of narrative elements, the
Eothina cycle was presented in its most advanced form,
comprising sixteen scenes derived from the iconography
of the eleven Eothina pericopes.
A basic aim of the painters at Bogorodica Ljeviška
and at Staro Νagoričino was to depict the cycle in such a
way that the influence of the liturgical use of the sources
was apparent, while preserving the historical sequence of
132 For a general treatment of the work of Michael Astrapas and Eu-
tychios in Staro Νagoričino, v. Miljković-Pepek, Deloto, 120–200;
Radojčić, op. cit (n. 78), 102–105; H. Hallensleben, Die Malerschu-
le des Königs Milutin, Giessen 1963, 57–60, 68–98, 110–121; Τοdić,
Staro Νagoričino, 127–137; idem, Serbian Medieval Painting, 235 ff.
133 Hamann – Mac Lean, Ηallensleben, op. cit., sch. 32, V, 1–9, 33,
V, 10–15; Τοdić, Staro Νagoričino, 107–110; idem, Serbian Medieval
Fig. 15. Staro Nagoričino. Christ shows the
disciples the wounds of his Passion.
Fig. 16. Gračanica. Christ shows the disciples
the wounds of his Passion.
Fig. 17. Staro Nagoričino. The Appearance of Christ at Lake Tiberias.
events as a general framework, given that the Gospel nar-
ratives do not tell us the exact time at which the appear-
ances took place.
The cycle begins with the visit of the Virgin to
the Tomb of Christ, accompanied by the Myrrh-bearing
Women, and continues with the visit of only the two Myr-
rhophores as described in the I Eothinon. It is followed by
Christ’s appearance to Mary Magdalene, described in the
VIII Eothinon, which is in fact linked liturgically to the I
Eothinon, because I and VIII Eothina are read at the Or-
thros and the Liturgy on the Sunday of Thomas respec-
tively.134 Next, the VII Eothinon is portrayed on the south
wall, depicting the announcement of the Resurrection by
Mary Magdalene and the visit of Peter and John to the
Tomb. This combination of the two scenes enhances the
historical cohesion of the events, as derived from Gospel
tradition, but it diminishes the influence of the liturgi-
cal function of the sources. Next come the events associ-
ated with Christ’s appearance at Emmaus (V Eothinon).
The depiction of the III Eothinon where Christ rebukes
the faithlessness of the disciples, and of the VI, showing
the Appearance ton thiron kekleismenon, reflect the litur-
gical use of the pericopes at the Orthros and the Liturgy
on the Thursday of the Ascension respectively.135 These
are followed by the X Eothinon on the north wall, show-
ing the Appearance at Lake Tiberias, as in the series of
readings on the Sunday of the Holy Fathers, immediate-
ly after the Ascension. Christ’s meal with fish and hon-
ey and the Incredulity of Thomas, whose sources are in
the VI and the IX Eothina, are combined, and then the
XI Eothinon, showing Christ in conversation with Peter
on the north wall of the Bema. The Eothina cycle at Staro
134 Exarchos, op. cit. (n. 11), 56; Μillet, Recherches, 34.
135 Exarchos, op. cit.
Νagoričino comes to an end with the last Appearance of
Christ at the mountain in Galilee (I Eothinon).
Some years later the Eothina cycle would be sim-
ilarly depicted at Gračanica.136 The minor changes that
were made, such as the depiction of two Myrrhophores,
rather than the Magdalene alone, in the scene of the an-
nouncement of the Resurrection, and the placing of the
episode in which the disciples offer Christ fish and hon-
ey before the Appearance at Lake Tiberias, do not pre-
clude the overall conclusion that the prototype for the
Eothina cycle at Gračanica is the cycle found at Staro
At Chilandar Monastery138 and at St. Nicetas near
Skopje139 the entire Eothina cycle is located within the
Sanctuary area. The appearances after the Resurrection,
136 On the place of some scenes from the cycle at Gračanica, v. Μillet,
op. cit., 40. See, also, Todić, Gračanica, 124; idem, Serbian Medieval
137 On the view concerning the participation of Michael Astrapas
and Eutychios in the decoration of Gračanica, v. Dj. Bošković, O ne-
kim našim graditeljima i slikarima iz prvih decenija XIV veka, Stari-
nar 9–10 (1959) 128–129; Μiljković-Pepek, Deloto, 233–234; Djurić,
Byzantinische Fresken, 72–73; Τοdić, Gračanica, 232–234; idem, Ser-
bian Medieval Painting, 250–251, 255.
138 The position of the cycle in the Sanctuary links the Chilandar
Monastery with monuments of the Morava valley. The wall-paint-
ings of the Katholikon are considered to be the work of artists from
Thessalonica. On this view, v. V. J. Djurić, Fresques médiévales à
Chilandar. Contribution au catalogue des fresques du Mont Athos, in:
Actes du XIIe Congrès international d’études byzantines III, Belgra-
de 1964, 71–83; idem, La peinture de Chilandar à l’époque du roi Mi-
lutin, HZ 4 (1978) 37–41; idem, Les étapes stylistiques de la peinture
vers 1300. Constantinople, Thessalonique, Serbie, in: Διεθνές Συμπό-
σιο: Βυζαντινή Μακεδονία 324–1430 μ.χ., Thessalonica 1995, 73–74;
B. Todić, Essai de dater avec plus de précision la peinture de l’église
principale de Chilandar, ZLU 21 (1985) 91–104; idem, Serbian Medie-
val Painting, 271–274.
139 Hamann – Mac Lean, Ηallensleben, op. cit., sch. 27, IV, B3–B4,
sch. 28, IV, B1–B2.
Fig. 18. Gračanica. The Appearance of Christ at Lake Tiberias.
being Theophanies, are entirely appropriate to the escha-
tological character of the Holy Bema,140 which favoured
scenes of this nature.
The close chronological and theological link of the
appearances of the Risen Lord with the Ascension and
Pentecost, which is apparent from the Gospels and is af-
firmed in Patristic writings, is the strongest justification
for depicting the Eothina cycle in direct relation to these
Thus the fact that both Ascension and Pentecost
were already traditionally depicted in the Sanctuary141
from the 10th century onwards, would also determine
the location of the cycle in the iconographic programme
in this location, so that the theological and liturgical uni-
ty of the period of Pentecost would also be affirmed icon-
ographically. Furthermore, the position of the Eothina
cycle in the Sanctuary, which places it in direct relation
to the altar, is justified by the well-known fact that in ec-
clesiastical literature the altar, considered as the Tomb of
Christ, is associated with his Resurrection and Ascen-
4. General observations about the Eothina cy-
cle in the churches from the time of Milutin
In the Palaeologan period the depiction of the
Eothina pericopes became standardized, which had a sig-
nificant influence on the iconographic programme with-
in churches. As a result it became one of the most impor-
tant cycles of this period. The most fundamental reason
for the development of the cycle is the influence of litur-
gical readings of the Eothina Gospels pericopes, in which
the theological underpinning and the significance of the
fact of the Resurrection is presented through different
episodes. This fact, in conjunction with the narrative ele-
ment characteristic of art of this period, gave a great im-
140 On the eschatological character of the Bema, v. Ch. Ihm, Die Pro-
gramme der christlichen Apsismalerei vom 4. Jahrhundert bis zur
Mitte des 8. Jahrhunderts, Stuttgart 19922, 42–51, 76–93, 108–112;
A. G. Μantas, Τὸ εἰκονογραφικὸ πρόγραμμα τοῦ ἱεροῦ Βήματος τῶν
μεσοβυζαντινῶν ναῶν, Athens 2001, 53–56.
141 N. Gkioles, Ἡ Ἀνάληψις τοῦ Χριστοῦ βάσει τῶν μνημείων τῆς Α’
Χιλιετηρίδος, Athens 1981, 258–259, 275–276 and passim.
142 PG 98, col. 421 and PG 155, col. 292Α.
pulse to the development of the cycle. The Eothina are il-
lustrated in exhaustive detail; as a result there is a steady
increase in the number of possible scenes. A typical ex-
ample is the X Eothinon (the Appearance at Lake Tibe-
rias), which provides the subject matter for the creation
of at least four distinct iconographic scenes.
Each of Christ’s appearances is accompanied by
additional events, which have an expository function
and give a visual rendering of the theological message of
the Resurrection pericopes, in other words the incarnate
Resurrection of Christ. This aim is furthered particular-
ly by the depictions of meals, such as the Supper at Em-
maus, the meal with fish and honey and the meal at Lake
Tiberias, as well as the showing of his wounds at the Ap-
pearance ton thiron kekleismenon and the Incredulity of
Thomas. Thanks to this depiction of secondary events,
which complement Christ’s main appearances, the cycle
became extended. Thus, although there are only eleven
Eothina pericopes in all, in a number of churches in the
Serbian kingdom the cycle includes up to sixteen scenes,
of a clearly narrative character. Furthermore, from the
time of Milutin on, the need to decorate extensive sur-
faces of the larger churches favoured the creation of nar-
rative cycles that included rare iconographic scenes, such
as at Staro Nagoričino and at Gračanica.
In addition to the above, the development of the
Eothina cycle, especially in churches from the time of
Milutin, took on ideological dimensions. The depiction
of the cycle serves to link the churches of the time of Mi-
lutin with the church of the Holy Sion, where scenes of
the Resurrection were also depicted. As previously in
Žiča and the Holy Apostles in Peć, where the Appearance
ton thiron kekleismenon and the Incredulity of Thomas
were displayed, the churches from the time of Milutin
Fig. 19. Staro Nagoričino. The Disciples carrying the net.
Fig. 20. Bogorodica Ljeviška. Τhe meal at Tiberias.
also produced icons from the church of Sion the Moth-
er of churches. The adoption of the liturgical order in the
Jerusalem Typikon and the assimilation, as well as exten-
sion, of scenes from Palestinian iconography, served the
ideology of the Serbian Church in its self-perception as
a new earthly Jerusalem.143 This ideology is most clear-
ly expressed in the prologue to the Jerusalem Typikon by
the archbishop Nicodemus, who connects Moses and the
Tabernacle of the congregation, which was built at divine
prompting, with St. Savas and its holy seat, the church of
the Ascension at Žiča.144
Several of the iconographic themes in the cycle are
original creations that fostered the enrichment of Palae-
ologan iconography. Typical examples are Christ rebuk-
ing the faithlessness of the disciples, the iconographic
motif of Christ en etera morfi at the Supper at Emmaus,
Christ’s meal of fish and honey the announcement of the
Resurrection by the disciples to Thomas the disciples
carrying the net on their shoulders and Peter’s question
to Christ about John. Most of the above themes are not
found in post-Byzantine cycles, or else they are depicted
in a simplified form.
Furthermore, rare scenes, such as Christ’s invita-
tion to the disciples to eat with him after the Appear-
ance at Lake Tiberias, the showing of his wounds in the
upper room in Jerusalem and the Appearance to Mary
Magdalene, which are known from middle-Byzantine
manuscripts, continue to be used in the Palaeologan pe-
riod, in conformity with the pictorial requirements of the
143 Todić, Serbian Medieval Painting, 154–156.
144 Ibid., 157.
age: they take place in settings with rich naturalistic or
architectural elements and emphasis is placed on con-
veying the intensity of feeling of the persons involved.
Besides the liturgical readings of the Eothina Gos-
pels, Patristic writings also provide a significant source
of inspiration for the artists. In the Palaeologan period
interpretations of the events after the Resurrection are
found particularly in the work of leading personalities in
the Hesychast movement, through whom a new interpre-
tative dimension is offered: the appearances after Resur-
rection and the Transfiguration of the Lord have a com-
mon theological basis, since the theophanies are the true
expression of the divine nature of Christ.145 The depiction
of the mandorla, which surrounds all or part of the figure
of Christ in certain scenes from the Eothina, is the picto-
rial element that most characteristically indicates the in-
fluence of Hesychast ideas in the iconography of the cy-
Most of the churches in which the cycle of Eothi-
na cycle is depicted were decorated by the artists Michael
Astrapas and Eutychios from Thessalonica, while a num-
ber of the others are either ascribed to them (Gračanica)
or form part of the same artistic current (Chilandar Mon-
astery). It is noteworthy that these were the only artists of
the Palaeologan period whose artistic career is known to
us from works bearing their signature, covering a period
145 See the views of Theophanes III of Nicea [Sotiropoulos, op. cit. (n.
36), 233, 236–237, 392] and of John Kantakouzenos [Iohannis Canta-
cuzeni Refutationis duae Prochori Cydonii et Disputatio cum Paulo
Patriarcha latino epistulis septem tradita, ed. E. Voordeckers - F. Tin-
nefeld, Turnhout-Leuven 1987 (Corpus Chrisianorum, Series Grae-
ca, 16), 47–48].
Fig. 21. Staro Nagoričino. Peter asks Christ about John.
greater than twenty-five years. From the Virgin Perivlep-
tos in Ochrid (1295) until St. Nicetas near Skopje (c. 1322)
we are able to follow the development of the cycle.
Their profound spiritual and artistic culture is al-
ready apparent from the Perivleptos in the depiction of
the Supper at Emmaus, which links them with the group
who decorated the Protaton. After Bogorodica Ljeviška,
where the cycle is probably at an experimental stage, as
regards the choice of the scenes and their arrangement,
in Staro Nagoričino the depiction of the cycle is char-
acterized by its iconographic completeness. The artists
are continually seeking new forms of expression in the
way they depict the scenes. For example it is clear that,
in comparison with Ljeviska, the two artists in Staro
Nagoričino distanced themselves noticeably from the
iconographic type of Christ en etera morfi, reduced the
number of events connected with Lake Tiberias and add-
ed other scenes, such as Christ rebuking the faithlessness
of the disciples, Christ’s meal of fish and honey and Peter
asking Christ about John.
Through the development of the Eothina cycle the
artistic career of the artists themselves is effectively il-
lustrated, from the experimental stage to their maturi-
ty. Beside the Gospel text, the source of their inspiration
is to be found in Patristic writings. Western influences
can also been recognized in their work. Their talent is
manifested in the pictorial rendering of texts, in which
complex theological concepts are brought together. They
demonstrate their innovativeness in the representation
of original iconographical motifs, but remain authentic
exponents of the artistic tendencies of their age. Thus the
Eothina cycle forms an exceptional model for the study
of the narrative element that characterizes Palaeologan
Fig. 22. Gračanica. Peter asks Christ about John.
Иконографски циклус Васкрсних јеванђеља у
црквама из времена владавине краља Милутина
У епохи Палеолога представе Васкрсних
јеванђеља постају стандардизоване, што је имало
значајан утицај на иконографски програм цркава.
Неколико иконографских тема у циклусу јесу ориги-
нална дела, која су подстакла богаћење иконографије
уметности Палеолога. Типични примери су сцена
Христос прекорева ученике због неверовања, мотив
Христа у другом обличју у Вечери у Емаусу, као и сце-
не Христос једе мед и рибу, Ученици јављају Томи да
је Христос васкрсао, Ученици носе мрежу на раме-
нима и Петар пита Христа о Јовану. Већина тих тема
није нађена у поствизантијским циклусима или су
сликане у једноставнијој форми.
Ретке сцене, попут Христовог позива учени-
цима да једу с њим после јављања на Тиверијадском
језеру, Христос показује своје ране ученицима у
јерусалимској Горници и Јављање Марији Магдале-
ни, које су биле познате из средњовизантијских ру-
кописа, сликају се и у епохи Палеолога, али у скла-
ду са сликарским захтевима епохе. Радња је смеш-
тена на сцену богату природним или архитектон-
ским елементима, а наглашена су снажна осећања
приказаних личности. Поред литургијских читања
Васкрсних јеванђеља, и патристички списи били
су значајан извор инспирације за уметнике. У епо-
хи Палеолога тумачења догађаја после васкрсења на-
лажена су нарочито у делу водећих личности исиха-
стичког покрета, који је нудио нову интерпретативну
димензију: јављања после васкрсења и преображења
Господњег имају заједничку теолошку основу по-
што су теофаније истинити израз божанске при-
роде Христове. Представа мандорле, која окружује
све делове Христове фигуре у неким сценама ци-
клуса Васкрсних јеванђеља, ликовни је елемент који
најизразитије показује утицај исихастичких идеја на
иконографију тог циклуса.
Хронолошка и теолошка повезаност која
постоји између јављања васкрслог Господа, с једне,
и Вазнесења и Духова, с друге стране, а која је очи-
гледна у јеванђељима и потврђена у патристичким
списима, најјаче је оправдање за сликање циклу-
са Васкрсних јеванђеља у непосредној вези с та два
догађаја. Чињеница да су и Вазнесење и Духови били
традиционално сликани у олтару од X века такође је
одредила положај циклуса у оквиру иконографског
програма управо на том месту, тако да је теолошко
и литургијско јединство периода епохе Педесетнице
иконографски потврђено. Уз то, положај Васкрсних
јеванђеља у олтарском простору, што доводи циклус
у непосредну везу са часном трпезом, оправдан
је добро познатом чињеницом да се у црквеној
литератури трпеза, посматрана као Христов гроб,
повезује с Васкрсењем и Вазнесењем.
Главни разлог за развој циклуса јесте утицај
литургијских читања зачала Васкрсних јеванђеља,
у којима је значај Васкрса представљен различитим
епизодама. То даје снажан импулс развоју циклуса,
а у вези с наративним елементом карактеристичним
за уметност епохе. Васкрсна јеванђеља илустрована
су веома исцрпно и појављује се све већи број сцена.
Развој циклуса Васкрсних јеванђеља примио је
идеолошке димензије нарочито у црквама из времена
краља Милутина. Представљањем тог циклуса цркве
Милутинове епохе повезују се с црквама на Сиону, где
су такође биле насликане сцене Васкрсења. Усвајање
литургијског поретка изложеног у јерусалимском
типику, као и сцена пренетих из палестинске
иконографије, потврђивало је саморазумевање
Српске цркве као новог земаљског Јерусалима.
Многе цркве у којима је насликан циклус
Васкрсних јеванђеља живописали су уметници
Михаило Астрапа и Евтихије. Њихова продубљена
духовна и уметничка култура очита је већ у охридској
Богородици Перивлепти, на представи Тајне вечере.
Она двојицу мајстора повезује с групом сликара која је
осликала Протатон. У Богородици Љевишкој циклус
је, када је реч о избору сцена и њиховом аранжману,
вероватно у експерименталној фази, а у Старом
Нагоричину одликује га иконографска потпуност.
Уметници континуирано траже нове форме израза
у начину на који сликају сцене. Њихов таленат
показује се у сликарском преношењу текста у којем
су скупљене сложене богословске идеје. Склоност
ка новинама исказана је сликањем оригиналних
иконографских мотива, али они остају аутентични
заступници уметничких тежњи свог времена.
Тако се циклус Васкрсних јеванђеља показује као
изузетан модел за разматрање наративног елемента
који карактерише уметност епохе Палеолога.