The Images of St Theodore the Studite in Bulgaria and Their Balkan Context Cover Image
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Образите на св. Теодор Студит в България и техният балкански контекст
The Images of St Theodore the Studite in Bulgaria and Their Balkan Context

Author(s): Elka Bakalova, Tsvetan Vassilev
Subject(s): Christian Theology and Religion, History, Archaeology, Fine Arts / Performing Arts, History of Church(es), Comparative history, Middle Ages, Theology and Religion, Eastern Orthodoxy
Published by: Институт за изследване на изкуствата, Българска академия на науките

Summary/Abstract: Saint Theodore the Studite is undoubtedly one of the most prominent representatives of Orthodox monasticism. He is known primarily as an abbot of the famous Studion monastery in Constantinople, as a monastic reformer, theologian and ardent enemy of heretical iconoclastic policies in the Byzantine Empire. The sources about him emphasize above all his adamant character, his brilliant abilities as a preacher and his willingness to champion the rights of the church, even at the price of deep personal sacrifice. As a writer he is pointed out mainly with his polemic against Iconoclasme, but he is also the author of other sermons, letters and hymns. He is credited for the creation of important works of Byzantine hymnography. We especially highlight this aspect of the work of Theodore the Studite, because it turned out to be particularly essential in the representation of the saint in monumental painting. Our task here is to present the images of St Theodore the Studite in the monuments in Bulgaria as compared to similar images (mainly unpublished) from other churches in the Balkans from the period XII–XVIII c., as we add to the presented material in the study of Doula Mouriki. We have discussed the images of the saint in the Boyana church (1259), in the church of “St Stephan” (a New metropolis) in Nessebar (1599), “St Athanasius” in Arbanassi (XVII c.) and the church “The Nativity of the Virgin” of the Rozhen monastery from 1732. We pay special attention to the texts of the scrolls held by the saint. The texts inscribed on the scrolls held by St Theodore vary. This fact indicates that the image of this saint often was associated with a particular aspect of the iconographic program in which his portrait was incorporated. According to the findings of Doula Mouriki, which are confirmed by the reviewed by us monuments and texts written on the scrolls held by the saint “in so far as church decoration is concerned, Theodore appears in his role of great doctrinal personality in the icon controversy, the preacher of ideal life within monastic communities, and the composer of pertinent ecclesiastical hymns.” In addition to many new examples of frescoes in Bulgaria and other Balkan countries we should point out the especially included image of St Theodore the Studite with the corresponding hymn in the composition of the “Tree of Jesse” from XIII c. on.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 145-164
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: English, Bulgarian