Το μαρμάρινο τέμπλο του καθολικού της μονής ΒατοπεδίουPart of : Δελτίον της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας ; Vol.36, 1995, pages 15-32
The Marble Templon of the Katholikon of Vatopedi Monastery
In the older catholica of the Athonite monasteries, aswell as in the Protaton and some chapels and cemeterychurches, the original marble chancel screens surviveeither entire or in part, usually behind the post-Byzantinewood-carved iconostasis.One of the most monumental marble sanctuary screenswas that in the katholikon of Vatopedi monastery. Itsexistence is mentioned by John Komnenos in 1700, aswell as 1744 by Barskij. The templon must have beendismantled between 1744 and 1788, when it was replacedby the later wood-carved iconostasis. The only parts ofthe original screen still preserved in situ are the mouldedstylobate and two small colonettes to either side of theHoly Door. The closure slabs appear to have been re-usedin the porch of exonarthex (1842), while parts of theepistyle were immured in the monastery's refectory(1785) and in the chapel of Haghia Zone (1794). Amongthe parts of the templon are also the four columns, withtheir historiated capitals, which support in second use thedome in Haghia Zone's chapel.Depending on the remaining on the stylobate traces and thedimensions of the various parts we have tried to reconstructthe templon. It was placed in front of the west side of thepartition walls of the choir, as the continuous stylobateproves, and was extended without an interval from north tosouth wall of the church. The usual in the Byzantine eratripartite division of the screen was created only by thedifferentiation of the epistyles' relief ornaments.The templon was crowned by a painted wooden-epistyle,from early 13th century, where the Great Deesis andscenes from the Twelve Feasts are represented. Most ofthese epistyle parts are preserved in the monastery'streasury, earlier published by M. Chatzidakis.The marble parts of the screen are perfectly harmonizedto the bema openings and the traces of the colonettes onthe stylobate. This fact, as well as the thematic andstylistic resemblance between the screens' relief decoration and the sculptures of the katholikon still remainingin situ, proves that the templon was constructedcontemporarely with the church, between 972 and 985.On the other hand, the relief ornamentation of the templonis in favor of this chronology, since it can be compared tothe sculptures of the Lips Monastery in Constantinople aswell as to screens epistyles' and other sculptures fromAsia Minor of this particular era. The conclusion is thatthe Vatopedi templon must have been constructed duringthe "Macedonian Renaissance" and it has to be includedamong the artistic achievements of Constantinople andthe places which bore its influence.