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Holy Apostles

Author(s) : Ball Amanda (6/9/2008)

For citation: Ball Amanda , "Holy Apostles", 2008,
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Constantinople
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=10896>

Holy Apostles (9/8/2009 v.1) Άγιοι Απόστολοι (1/18/2012 v.1) 


The restoration of the church by Basil I

Likewise the famous great church of the Holy Apostles, which had lost its former beauty and firmness, he fortified by the addition of buttresses and the reconstruction of broken parts, and having scraped off the signs of old age and removed the wrinkles, he made it once more beautiful and new.

Vita Basilii 80, ed. I. Bekker, Theophanes Continuatus. Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae (Bonn 1838), p. 323, transl. Mango C., The Art of the Byzantine Empire, 312-1453: Sources and Documents (London 21986), p. 192.

The mosaics in the church of the Holy Apostles

626. The craftsman has piously ordained that the central [dome] should be elevated and rule over the others, destined as it was to be the Lord's great throne, and to protect His precious image...
737. In the middle of the costly ceiling, [the church] bears a representation of Christ as if He were the sun, a wonder exceeding all wonders; next, like the moon, that of the stainless Virgin, and, like the stars, those of the wise Apostles. The whole inner space has been covered with a mixture of gold and glass, as much as forms the domed roof and rises above the hollowed arches, down to [the revetment of] multicolored marbles and the second cornice. Represented here are the deeds and venerable forms which narrate the abasement of the Logos and his presence among the mortals...
858. In addition to all the above wonders, you will see, O excellent reader, this further astounding spectacle, an altogether exceptional one, which the artist has painted better than anything else in the church so as to move to tears and heart-felt pity those who behold this image of the Passion:... Judas, that wretched man, betraying his Lord and teacher to be murdered... The artist has painted his very manner, the savage cast of his face, his pale countenance, clenched jaws, hateful eyes filled with murder, nostrils as of an asp, breathin anger... His feet, set wide apart, hasten with big strides on their wicked path, and his two hands strive to catch the Lord...
916. The seventh spectacle you may see among all these wonders is Christ's Passion... painted with feeling... What man, even if he had a heart of stone, upon seeing the image of the Passion, would not be amazed in his spirit as he beholds this altogether astonishing event...

Constantine, of Rhodes, Description of the Church of the Holy Apostles, transl. Mango C., The Art of the Byzantine Empire, 312-1453: Sources and Documents (London 21986), pp. 198-9.

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