their place on the iconostasis had a significant role to play in lay piety, if not in the actual liturgy.
Eucharistic subjects are rare on iconostasis icons, indeed on icons of any kind.21 Sacrificial motifs, however, do make their way into later Byzantine iconography, for example, the Virgin and Child with instruments ofthe Passion and the Man of Sorrows (Akra Tapeinosis), as do a number of typological themes, which will be discussed below.22
By the turn of the eleventh century the decoration of the sanctuary area - the lower walls of the apse and the bema - was being almost exclusively devoted to Eucharistic themes.23 This development is unquestionably attached to the ritual that takes place in that space and is not unrelated to the closing of the iconostasis. On the walls of the apse were standing figures of bishops, among them the authors of the two main liturgies, John Chrysostom and Basil the Great, placed nearest to the centre. The bishops hold Gospel books, and wear the omophorion, the insignium that they acquired upon their ordination to episcopal rank.
Above the bishops was painted the Communion of the Apostles, with Christ offering from a painted altar bread and wine to the twelve apostles who approach him from left and right (fig. 5.2). This theme replaced the 'historical' Last Supper; the words of institution spoken by Christ at that time and reiterated by the celebrant ('Take, eat, this is my body . . .') are frequently inscribed onto the background of the scene. The composition, which was popular from the eleventh century on, depicted with some care the details of a contemporary Eucharist, complete with vessels, ciborium and proper liturgical gestures. Angel deacons stand by the altar holding rhipidia (liturgical fans).24 The figure of Christ (or figures, as he is often represented twice, once offering the bread, once offering the wine) is shown wearing the sakkos, the vestment of the patriarch of Constantinople, first in the fourteenth century.
While the Communion of the Apostles composition remained remarkably stable, in the twelfth century the line of bishops took on a new aspect, depicted
21 One exception to prove the rule is an icon depicting the Communion of the Apostles: XapiaT-qpiov sis AvaaTáaiov K. 'OpAávSov (Athens: Bibliotheke tes en Athenais Archaiologikes Hetaireias, 1967), 111, 395.
22 J. Albani, 'Icons and the Divine Liturgy. A reciprocal relationship', in Ceremony and faith: Byzantine art and the Divine Liturgy (Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture - Directorate of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Monuments, 1999), 57-62.
23 Gerstel, Sacred mysteries, 5-67.
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