the remains of those mentioned in the inscription and their families. The motivation for construction ofthis modest church, like many ofthe late period, was to house liturgical celebrations and provide a physical context for private devotions, but also to serve as the nucleus of a family burial plot and the site of perpetual commemoration of the deceased. Written sources confirm, explicitly, that donations were made to churches by the laity in order to ensure that the memory of the deceased be recalled in prayer. In 1457, Constantine Strelitzas and his wife penned crosses on an act of donation to the church of St Kyriake at Mouchli, a hilltop town in the central Peloponnese. According to the brief act, the couple gave a vineyard that they had purchased, 'for the salvation of our souls to the church of St Kyriake for the commemoration of our parents and of ourselves'.59 Many similar acts of donation in exchange for spiritual benefits (so-called yuxixa) are found in the acts of Mount Athos. Both men and women eagerly gave property to monasteries on the Holy Mountain in exchange for guarantees of posthumous commemoration (ranging from daily to annual) by the brethren.
The decoration of funeral chapels provides abundant information on their use for burials and for commemorative rites. In a number of chapels, quotations from the funeral service or images evoked in the liturgical text are represented on the walls and vaults. The central representation of all funeral chapels, however, was the scene of the Last Judgement, which was often located on the west wall. This elaborate composition spelled out the process by which the soul would be judged, a process of immediate concern to those who would be buried below the chamber's pavement and those who would view the artistic composition. References to the judgement of the soul are found throughout Byzantine literature. Apocalyptic literature, for example, refers to the interrogation of the soul as it passed through tollgates, whose keepers assessed specific sins and assigned appropriate punishments. Writers of the late Byzantine period draw comparison between judgement by the heavenly court and the corrupt, earthly judiciary. The text of Mazaris's Journey to Hades or Interviews with Dead Men about Certain Officials of the Imperial Court, written between January 1414 and October 1415, describes, in highly satirical form, the social and political milieu of the late Byzantine court. The central figure of the text, Mazaris, who finds himself in Hades, asks how a soul is judged in the afterlife. The answer is as follows: 'Justly . . . and impartially, without corruption or favouritism; neither flattery nor bribes can influence
59 M. Manoussacas, 'Un acte de donation a l'eglise Sainte-Kyriake de Mouchli (1457)', TM 8 (1981), 319.
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