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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Hosios Loukas as a Victory Church

Hosios Loukas as a Victory Church

Carolyn L. Connor

(Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, 33:3, 1992, Fall)

OVER THE PAST CENTURY the Byzantine monastery of Hosios Loukas near Delphi in central Greece has fascinated and perplexed scholars, who have recognized in it the outstanding preserved examples of middle-Byzantine architecture and monumental decoration. The great Katholikon of the monastery, sheltering the tomb of Saint Loukas in the crypt at the center of the complex, is joined at its northeast corner to another smaller church, the Theotokos. Other surviving structures include cells, towers, a warming house, and refectory, recently restored by the Greek Archaeological Service. The monastery is probably best known for the program of mosaics and frescoes in the Katholikon, unsurpassed in their quality, quantity, and fine state of preservation. Wall surfaces gleam with some 160 portraits of saints, twenty narrative and hieratic compositions, and a proliferation of polychrome marble ornament. Hosios Loukas represents the most complete and therefore, one could claim, the most important monastic ensemble of medieval Byzantium.

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