(Akhironiti), and Holy Asomatoi and many others'.1 In smaller cities such as Berroia and Kastoria numerous family chapels still stand hidden in residential neighbourhoods as they were in Byzantine times. These modest buildings, intimate in scale and decoration, served the day-to-day devotional needs of the city dweller and were used, in the medieval period, for the burials of members of extended families.
Also present were the enclosures for urban monasteries and for dependencies (metochia) of monastic foundations located in more isolated rural settings or on holy mountains. Some members of the laity developed a close relationship with local monasteries, attending services there regularly and consulting the superior as a spiritual mother or father. They might offer various forms of financial support to these institutions and seekburial within their walls. Even if one did not enter within the monastic complex, its very presence conjured up a world of sacred prayer and action, made all the more potent by the icons placed on the outer walls of the monastery, which provided passersby with access to the saints venerated within. While women were not permitted to enter the monastery of the Virgin Kosmosoteira in Pherrai, they could 'if they wished, worship at the mosaic image of the Mother of God above the entrance to the monastic enclosure'.2 In a similar fashion, the west facade of the katholikon of a late Byzantine monastery at Thessalonike (today known as Prophitis Elias) contains tall niches in which holy portraits of Christ, the Virgin holding the Christ child, and St Anne holding the infant Virgin were painted. Supplicants could venerate the all-holy images displayed on the church exterior even when the doors to the church were firmly closed.
A wide range of churches of different form and function also marked the small villages of rural Byzantium. Archaeological and architectural remains demonstrate that a larger church was often located at the proximate centre of the village and that this may have served as the site of weekly liturgical celebration and of other services of importance to the entire community. Smaller churches or chapels were located in discrete neighbourhoods populated by members of extended families. These chapels, which offered liturgical celebration less frequently than the village's central church, were maintained by families for their own devotional purposes and were often dedicated to saints of special import to individual supplicants. The infrequent use of such churches may be inferred from an inscription painted on the south wall near
1 M. Rautman, 'Ignatios of Smolensk and the late Byzantine monasteries of Thessaloniki', REB 49 (1991), 145,146 n. 11.
2 L. Petit, 'Typikon du monastère de la Kosmosotira près d'Aenos (1152)', IzvestiiaRusskago Arkheologicheskago InstitutavKonstantinopole 13 (1908), 61; Thomas and Hero, 11, 836.
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