VISUAL THEOLOGY


One work within the Monastery's main church (Katholikon), decorating the sanctuary apse, is particularly notable. The subject of the Transfiguration is very appropriate to this holy site, which is associated with the two instances when God was "seen" by the Prophet Moses and by the Prophet Elijah, the latter of whom had felt God as a light breeze on Mount Horeb, below the Peak of the Decalogue).Moreover, this has been par excellence the favorite subject of the monks who aspire to holiness, to become worthy of contemplating and viewing God's ineffable glory, the increate Taborian Light. Christ is portrayed with black hair and beard in an oval "glory" between Moses and Elijah who represent the Law and the prophets. Below, the three awed disciples are pictured in different poses. The soffit of the triumphal arch is decorated with medallions containing busts of the twelve Apostles. The three Apostles included in the scene fo the Transfiguration have been replaced in the chain of medallions by Paul, Thaddaeus and Matthias. The base of the apse is bordered by another series of fifteen medallions with busts of the Prophets. This monumental composition of the late 16th century is a true masterpiece of Byzantine art. Through the subject, treated with intense light and profound spirituality, the mosaicist has succeeded to represent in a most expressive and transcendental manner the doctrine of the two natures of Christ, as formulated in 451 AD by the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon. The terminal medallions enclose the portraits of Longinus the Abbot (right) and John the Deacon (left). Both were important personalities. Longinus was Abbot of the Monastery between 562-565/6, at which time the decoration was executed. He later became Patriarch of Antioch. John is perhaps the later Patriarch of Jerusalem known as John IV (575-594). The spandrels of the arch are occupied by two flying angles and the center by the Amnos (Lamb). The Virgin is depicted in bust on the south side and St. John the Baptist on the north. We may say that we have here one of the earliest representations of the Deesis. The upper part of the wall shows two episodes from the Old Testament. They are Moses before the Burning Bush and Moses receiving the Tablets of Law. This superb mosaic must have been made by master mosaicists who had come from Constantinople ■

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris