recur at predictable intervals.69 Of these illustrations, only the canon for the separation of soul and body is ever illustrated in monumental painting.

Hymnography in monumental painting Portraits of hymnographers on the walls of Byzantine churches from the twelfth century on provide an indication of the importance of hymnography to monumental painting.70 At the church of Nerezi (1164), for example, the entire lower section of the north wall is devoted to the representation of five of these poets, including Theodore of Stoudios and Joseph the Hymnographer, both of whom lived into the ninth century. The hymnographers here occupy a position more prominent than that awarded to the warrior saints to the west, and equal to the highly revered monastic saints of the early church painted opposite, on the south wall.71

Yet the impact of hymnography on monumental painting is not always easy to assess. To be sure, certain specific hymns are illustrated on the walls of churches, as with the Akathistos hymn, which is included fairly frequently in church programmes after the early fourteenth century (the earliest cycle in any medium being that painted in the church of the Olympiotissa at Elasson c. 1300).72 The Nativity sticheron of John of Damascus was illustrated in some fourteenth-century Balkan churches: here a traditional Nativity composition was isolated from the feast sequence and expanded to include figures of the faithful, among them even actual historical personages, shown celebrating the feast by singing the hymn.73 There is a sequence of scenes illustrating the canon for the separation of soul and body painted in a tower of the Chilandar monastery on Mount Athos.74

69 J. R. Martin, The illustration of the Heavenly Ladder of John Climacus [Studies in Manuscript Illumination 5] (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1954), 128-49.

70 G. Babic, 'Les moines poètes dans l'église de la Mère de Dieu a Studenica', in Studenica i vizantijska umetnosti oko 1200 (Belgrade: Srpska akademija nauka i umetnosti, 1988), 205-19; A. Grabar, 'Les images des poètes et des illustrations dans leurs œuvres et dans la peinture byzantine tardive', Zograf 10 (1979), 13-16.

71 Sinkevic, Nerezi, 60-66; N. P. Sevcenko, 'The five hymnographers at Nerezi', Palaeoslavica 10 (2002), 55-68.

72 A. Paetzold, Der Akathistos-Hymnos: die Bilderzyklen in der byzantinischen Wandmalerei des i4.Jahrhunderts [Forschungen zur Kunstgeschichte und christlichen Archaologie 16] (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1989); E. C. Constantinides, The wall paintings of the Panagia Olympiotissa at Elasson in Northern Thessaly (Athens: Canadian Archaeological Institute at Athens, 1992), 134-77.

73 Moran, Singers, 115-25.

74 B. Todic, 'Freske xiii veka u paraklisu na pirgu sv. Georgija u Hilandaru', Hilandarski Zbornik 9 (1997), 35-70 (English summary, 71-3), esp. 55-70, figs. 12-17 and sketch 11.

Sometimes the author of a canon sung at a particular feast is painted alongside or even within the representation of that feast. In the refectory at Patmos, for example, the hymnographers Kosmas and John of Damascus, like a pair of prophets, let down their scrolls into a Crucifixion scene.75 They also flank depictions of the Dormition of the Virgin, holding scrolls with words from their Dormition canons. The two saints may even on occasion enter the frame of the composition and stand, if on a slightly enlarged scale, near the mourning apostles. The hymnographers in these compositions, like the singers mentioned above, serve to link a past event to its present celebration.

The effect of hymnography on the feast cycle is more elusive: it is not always easy to trace a particular motif back to a specific hymn, especially when the hymns are based on earlier prose texts. But it is clear that Romanos's Crucifixion kontakion influenced an eleventh-century ivory and a fourteenth-century fresco ofthe Crucifixion where the words ofthe kontakion are inscribed on the fresco.76 Hymnography is thought to have had a significant influence on the development of new and more affective versions of the Passion events from the twelfth century on: Pallas and Belting have argued that readings and hymns involving the laments of the Virgin were introduced during the twelfth century into newly fashioned Good Friday services and led to the icon type of the Man of Sorrows (Akra Tapeinosis). If correct - and perhaps too much has been made of the newness of the service in question - these developments represent the clearest and closest ties between liturgy and art to be found outside the sanctuary area.77

Hymnography in other media Icon painting follows much the same course as monumental painting in this regard. There are icons on which the twenty-four stanzas of the Akathistos Hymn surround the Virgin; there are icons of the Dormition which include the hymnographers Kosmas and John of Damascus. The Man of Sorrows, sometimes on a diptych paired with a bust icon of the mourning Virgin, became a

75 They were apparently already present in thelate twelfth-century Crucifixion at Bojana:E. Bakalova, 'Liturgicna poezia i crkovna stenopis (Tekst ot oktoexa v Bojanskata c'rkvata)', Starob'lgarska Literatura 28-9 (1994), 143-52.

76 M. E. Frazer, 'Hades stabbed by the cross of Christ', Metropolitan MuseumJournal 9 (1974), 153-61; G. Babic, 'Quelques observations sur le cycle des fêtes de l'église de Polosko (Macédoine)', CA 27 (1978), 163-78, esp. 172-4.

77 Pallas, Passion, 29-38; Belting, 'Image andits function', 5,7. The service Pallas and Belting single out and call the presbeia is in structure actually nothing new for a Friday evening, nor does the crucial text they cite, the typikon of the Evergetis monastery, refer to it as a presbeia. See Sevcenko, 'Icons in the liturgy', 50-4; Janeras, Vendredi-saint, 427-28.

i5i familiar icon type, postulated to be an actual participant in the Good Friday liturgy. More surely an actual participant in these liturgical ceremonies was the epitaphios, the large tomb-size covering that bore the image of the dead Christ (fig. 5.1). It was unquestionably to play a part in the burial processions of Good Friday and Holy Saturday, which are attested by the fourteenth century.

Icons of the Virgin, whatever their iconographic type, often acquired epithets that derive from those given to her in liturgical poetry (the zoodochos pege, the platytera, the pammakaristos, etc.).78 Just occasionally the influence runs the other way: with the proliferation of miracle-working icons in late Byzantium, for example, poetic canons began to be composed not just to the Virgin but to individual icons of the Virgin. These canons to icons seem to belong to the post-Byzantine period, but some may prove to be earlier.79


The Byzantine liturgy and its commentators have continually wrestled with notions of earthly and heavenly time. The Eucharist was said to commemorate Christ's sacrifice and the events leading up to it, but it was at the same time an image, a figure of the fulfilment of these events in the eternal realm of God.80 It evoked both a historical sequence of events and the timelessness of the heavenly kingdom. The writers who commented on the Eucharist went back and forth between two approaches, the Antiochene and Alexandrian, between 'IcTopia and 0£«pia.81 Because the liturgical performance of an event served to link past and future, this art could dispense with other kinds of linkage such as extensive symbolism or allegory, and so it remains firmly and unwaveringly representational.

And it remains polyvalent: the drawing of strict one-to-one relationships usually failed. The various liturgical cycles and services - the movable feasts, the fixed feasts, the Hours, the Eucharist - jostle and overlap in the course of a day, and as a result the variable elements of the liturgy constantly give new tonalities and meaning to the fixed and unchanging ones. The same is

78 S. Eustratiades, H Qsotokos sv tt\ vp.voypa<pia [AyiopETiK^ BipAioO^K^ 6] (Paris: Librairie ancienne; Chennevieres-sur-Marne: L'Hermitage, 1930).

79 Sevcenko, 'Icons in the liturgy', 55.

80 Schmemann, Liturgical theology, 34-6, 57-64; Bornert, Commentaires, 36,168-76.

81 R. F. Taft, 'The liturgy of the Great Church: an initial synthesis of structure and interpretation on the eve of Iconoclasm', DOP 34-5 (1980-81), 45-75; Bornert, Commentaires, esp. 52-82.

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