Introduction

This survey is concerned with the architecture and visual arts of the five Miaphysite churches: the Syrian, Armenian, Coptic, Nubian and Ethiopian. What they have theologically in common is that in 451 they all separated from the Council of Chalcedon, which prescribed the official definition of the nature of Christ adopted by the Byzantine Church. However, the oriental churches maintained links with the Byzantine church as well as with each other throughout the Middle Ages. But there was also divergence as each expressed of its own cultural and religious identity, an expression in which the visual played a major part.

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