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ICONS OF THE HOLY MONASTERY OF KARAKALLOU MOUNT ATHOS
For the first time in its history Karakallou Monastery of Mount Athos is revealing its iconographic treasures to the general public. Karakallou Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries on Holy Mountain, is celebrating its millennium of uninterrupted coenobitic life with the publication of this richly illustrated volume devoted to its portable icons; thereby bringing to light a virtually unknown part of ancient Athonite culture and its spiritual heritage. From among the hundreds of holy icons in the monastery's possession, 152 were carefully selected for this edition. Historically, they span from the late 14th to the early 19th century and include masterpieces that are inaccessible to most of the monastery's pilgrims. Quite significantly, the Karakallou monastery's holdings feature the largest collection of works by Dionyssios of Fourna, a prominent byzantine iconographer of the 18th century. Gazing at these stunning photographic reproductions, the viewer can sense the presence of divine grace that has been absorbed by these sacred artifacts through the course of centuries of prayer and liturgic life. The book's rich visual content combined with an extensive and well documented analysis of the artistic and historical background of each icon provides not only a unique insight into post-Byzantine orthodox iconography, but also invaluable material for amateur and professional iconographers alike. The accompanying text was composed by six Greek and Russian professors who specialize in Byzantine Art, History and Archaeology. Although the text is written in Greek, non-Greek speaking readers can navigate their way through the book by utilizing the bilingual picture captions (Greek-English) as well as by turning to a chapter written in English summarising the most important aspects of the Karakallou icon repository. Linen-bound hardcover with glossy jacket plus protective case (optional), 552 pages (23x32 cm) showing 241 colour icons (most of these are full-size icons and with details). :
2011, Hardback in protective slip case (optional), 552 large pages (23x32 cm), 241 colour icons (most of them full-page). £145
The Monastery of Karakallou is one of the twenty ancient monasteries located on a peninsula in Northern Greece called Mount Athos, also widely known as the Holy Mountain. On the occasion of the celebration of a millennium of uninterrupted coenobitic life, the brotherhood recently published a richly illustrated volume devoted to the monastery’s portable holy icons, the fruit of more than ten centuries of reverent artistic activity. For the first time in the monastery’s history, its iconographic treasures are now being revealed to the general public, thereby bringing to light a virtually unknown part of ancient Athonite culture and its spiritual heritage.
From among the hundreds of portable icons in the monastery’s possession, 152 were carefully selected for this edition. Historically, they span from the late 14th to the early 19th century and include masterpieces that are inaccessible to most of the monastery’s pilgrims. Quite significantly, the monastery’s holdings feature the largest collection of works by Dionysios of Fourna, a prominent Greek iconographer of the 18th century.
Gazing at the stunning photographic reproductions, the viewer can sense the presence of divine grace that has been absorbed by these sacred artifacts through the course of centuries of prayer and liturgic life.
The book’s rich visual content combined with an extensive and well documented analysis of the artistic and historical background of each icon provides not only a unique insight into post-Byzantine Athonian iconography, but also invaluable material to professional and amateur iconographers alike and a superb experience to admirers of this sacred art.
The accompanying text was composed by six Greek and Russian professors who specialize in Byzantine Art, History, and Archaeology. Although the text is written in Greek, non-Greek speaking readers can navigate their way through the book by utilizing the bilingual picture captions (Greek-English) as well as by turning to a chapter written in English summarising the most important aspects of the Karakallou icon repository.
The edition is privileged to be blessed by His All Holiness, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who graciously wrote the foreword. The book features also the first ever authoritative account of the Monastery’s history.
This 552 page linen-bound hardcover volume (32×23 cm) with an optional protective slipcase is printed on high quality glossy paper for the purpose of presenting 241 exquisite reproductions of full-size icons and details that usually occupy the entire page.
“This sublime volume records for the first time a cultural inheritance of universal importance; a real gem… Journeying through the pages of this book makes the heart and mind of the viewer soar towards the perennial
salvific relationship between man and God…”
“Stylos Orthodoxias” Greek newspaper, Issue 123, May 2011
FOREWORD & BLESSING by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
PROLOGUE by Archimandrite Philotheos, Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Karakallou
HISTORY OF THE MONASTERY by Kr. Chrysochoides
ON THE MONASTERY’S PORTABLE ICONS by E.N. Tsigaridas
ICONS FROM THE 2nd HALF OF THE 14th TILL THE LAST QUARTER OF THE 16th CENTURY
by E.N. Tsigaridas
ICONS FROM THE LATE 16th TILL THE LATE 17th CENTURY
ICONS BY DIONYSIOS OF FOURNA by E.N. Tsigaridas
ICONS OF THE 1st HALF OF THE 18th CENTURY by Ag. Strati
ICONS OF THE 2nd HALF OF THE 18th CENTURY by Par. Papadimitriou & Alex. Trifonova
ICONS OF THE 1st HALF OF THE 19th CENTURY by G. Fousteris
ABOUT THE PORTABLE ICONS IN THE MONASTERY OF KARAKALLOU (in English) by E.N. Tsigaridas
The Holy Monastery of Karakallou is 11th according to the hierarchical order of the 20 Monasteries on Mount Athos. Built upon a hilltop in the midst of a densely wooded forest and at only a short distance from the sea, the monastery is located in an isolated area of the northeastern coast of the Athonite peninsula between the Monasteries of Iviron and Great Lavra. It is also at walking distance of half an hour from the more inland Monastery of Philotheou.
Outwardly, the monastery is reminiscent of a small-fortified castle. The architecturally impressive and elegantly designed tower, equipped with a machicolation and bastions is considered to be one of the Holy Mountain’s most beautiful.
The monastery was consecrated in honor of the Leaders of the Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul, at the close of the 10th century or the dawn of the 11th, which is during the first 50 years of organized coenobitic life in Athos, a period that coincides with the presence of Saint Athanassios the Athonite and the founding of Great Lavra. The first presence of the monastery’s name in historical documents dates from 1018, referring to an already organized ruling monastery with clearly defined territorial boundaries. It is therefore almost certain that the monastery is already traversing its second millennium of history.
Uncertain, on the other hand, remains the derivation of the Monastery’s name, with the most plausible theory up to now being that which connects it with the surname of its founder.
The catholicon or central church of the monastery was built during the 16th century. Apart from it, the monastery houses 12 other chapels, scattered within its walls and immediate surroundings (including one within the belfry and one within the tower).
Some of the more important treasures amongst the monastery’s rich collection of holy relics are a substantial piece of the honorable wood of the Holy Cross, the skull of the Apostle Bartholomew, the skull of Saint Christopher, the right hand of Great-martyr Saint Theodore the General and a piece of the right hand of Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner. The sacred repository also includes relics of the new monk-martyr Gedeon of Karakallou (†1818). The holdings of the monastic library include over 330 manuscripts and 3,000 incunabula.
Today, the Monastery’s brotherhood numbers around 45 monks