Colours, Symbols, Worship: The Mission of the Byzantine Artist


24 x 17 cm
580 pp. 379 illus.
Publication: April 2012
ISBN 1 899828 68 0
ISBN-13 978 1 899828 68 5

Book Description

Trained as an archaeologist and art historian and being a practising painter, Professor Galavaris has been able to relate diverse disciplines in his work, as shown by the wide range of his numerous publications. He moves from the early history of the eucharistic bread in the Orthodox Church, the dramatic impact of the Liturgy on illuminated Byzantine manuscripts, to the role of the icon in: the life of the Church, the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and the European painting of the 20th century. He is a leading authority on the study of the relationship between worship, Liturgy and art. Whether it is the cult of the Byzantine Emperor or the Eucharistic Liturgy, manifested in numismatics, illuminated manuscripts, icons, church lights (candles and oil lamps) – all witnesses of the creative forces of the Byzantine artist – Galavaris’ interests are symbols, forms and their meaning. He investigates their contribution to worship, to the visual shaping of the Liturgy and how they reveal the freedom and the mission of the artist in realizing the Unseen in everyday life.

The 31 studies in the present volume, published over 40 years (5 of them appear in English for the first time) are brought together with an introduction, annotations and an index. The volume contributes essentially to our knowledge of the spirituality of the Eastern Church.


  • Preface
  • The Byzantine Illuminated Manuscript, the Artist’s offering to God
  • The Portraits of St. Athanasios of Athos
  • The Mother of God of the Kanikleion
  • The Mother of God, Stabbed with a knife
  • A Question of Mariolatry in Byzantium
  • An Icon with Saints in the National Gallery of Canada
  • Mary’s Descent into Hell
  • A Note on the Psalter Oxford, Christ Church Arch. W. Gr. 61
  • Majestas Mariae in Late Greek and Russian Icons
  • Two Icons of St. Theodosia at Sinai
  • The Stars of the Virgin. An ekphrasis of an icon of the Mother of God
  • Some Aspects of Symbolic Use of Lights in the Eastern Church. Candles, Lamps and Ostrich Eggs
  • The Cross in the Book of Ceremonies By Constantine Porphyrogenitus
  • The Role of the Illuminated Byzantine Manuscript in the Divine Liturgy
  • A Bread Stamp from Sinai and its Relatives
  • An Eucharistic Bread Stamp in Mainz
  • An Icon with the Epinikios Hymn in the Benaki Museum
  • Observations on the Iconography of a Faras “Majestas” and its Relatives
  • Sinaitic Manuscripts in the time of the Arabs
  • The Illumination of Manuscripts in the 10th Century
  • The Constantinopolitan Lectionary in the Great Lavra, Mt. Athos “embellished” by the Wallachian Voevods
  • East and West in an Illustrated Manuscript at Sinai
  • A Constantinopolitan Scribe in the Court of Pope Martin IV
  • Aspects of Book Illumination of Mt. Athos
  • Problems in the Illustration of the Gospel-Lessons in the Early Lectionaries of the Monastery of the Great Lavra, Mt. Athos
  • The Symbolism of the imperial Costume as Displayed on Coins
  • Style as an approach to the Holy in Byzantine Coins
  • Alexander the Great, Conqueror and Captive of Death: His various images in Byzantine Art
  • Expressions of Monasticism in the Illuminated Byzantine Manuscripts
  • El Greco’s Image of St. Francis of Assisi
  • The Icon, God’s Birthmark in Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Prayers’
  • Constantinople-Moscow-Munich, Byzantium and Twentieth Century European Painting
  • Additional Notes
  • Index
  • Plates
  • Additional information




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