Το δογματικό υπόβαθρο στην αψίδα του Αγίου Παντελεήμονα Βελανιδιών : Ο Ευαγγελισμός, ο Μελισμός, ο επώνυμος άγιοςPart of : Δελτίον της Χριστιανικής Αρχαιολογικής Εταιρείας ; Vol.38, 1999, pages 165-176
The Doctrinal Backround to the Apse Decoration of the Church of Agios Panteleimon, Velanidia : The Annunciation - The Dead Christ Sacrificed - Saint Paneleimon
Velanidia, a village in the province of Epidaurus Limera, is located on Cape Maleas. The wall paintings in the church of Agios Panteleimon, surviving only in the sanctuary area, are dated to the last third of the 13th century. In the top quarter-dome of the apse one can discern the figure of the Virgin, in the mode of the Vlachernitissa; below is a representation of the Annunciation. The depiction of the fraction and distribution of the consecrated bread at Communion (Melismos) bears an inscription, Ό θυόμενος (The Sacrificed One), and occupies two zones of the lower part of the apse. The upper zone, between the interrupted depiction of the Annunciation, contains a representation of the Eucharistie Christ, flanked by angel-deacons, while in the lower zone are the officiating bishops. On the roll held by John Chrysostom the viewer can read the prayer which precedes the Melismos. At the northern edge of the same zone stands the saint, Panteleimon, to whom the church is dedicated (Figs 1-3). The iconographical subject of the Annunciation is connected with the Eucharistie cycle of the sanctuary, and is combined with the representation of the Melismos, which frames the central section. The two compositions are connected by the presence of the Holy Spirit: at the moment of the Annunciation, as recounted in the Gospel, and at the moment of the consecration of the bread and wine when the τρόπων έκφρασης. Παράλληλα, ή έμπνευση τής νέας δυναμικής μορφής τοΰ εύχαριστιακοΰ Χρίστου θυομένου ή μελιζομένου καί ή προσπάθεια τής απόλυτης ταύτισης κειμένων καί εικόνας εντάσσονται στό ανανεωτικό καί έντονα ρεαλιστικό πνεΰμα τής εποχής τών πρώτων Παλαιολόγων. Πανεπιστήμιο 'Αθηνών Holy Spirit is said to be 'invisibly present'. Representations of the saint to whom the church is dedicated can be found in a considerable number of apses of churches dating to the Palaeologan period in the Mani. Their style follows that of a conservative tradition going back to middle Byzantine times that survived in the iconography of church martyrs in a variety of provincial churches. The Christ of the Eucharist is depicted in an unusual version of the Sacrificed One, or the Broken Lamb. The iconographical feature of this version is the wounded right side of the dead, mature Christ, from which blood and water flows (the latter sometimes shown as being collected in the chalice). This form is a product of the Palaeologan period and can be seen in churches in the region of Laconia, such as the church of Agioi Theodoroi, Kafiona (1263/1270),'the church of Agios Chrysostomos, Geraki (1300), the church of Agios Andreas, Kato Kastania (1375-1400), the church of Cheimatissa, Floka (1400), and the church of Agios Georgios, Maleas (early 15th century) (Figs 4-8). In all probability this version of the Melismos is in complete conformity with the iconographie variant of the region. The doctrinal background to the figure of the dead Eucharistie Christ Sacrificed-Broken is determined by the text and the rite of the divine liturgy, as well as by church tradition. The figure brings to the icon moments in the liturgy, such as the Preparation of the divine gifts of the bread and wine of the sacrament, the Zeon (warming of the water in the chalice for communion), and the Communion itself. There are differences in the way these two moments in the liturgy, related to the mystery of the Holy Eucharist, are performed in the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. The iconographical programme in the apse of the church of Agios Panteleimon depicts for us the beginning of the Divine Dispensation with the representation of the Annunciation, the doctrine of the incarnation with the figure of the Virgin Vlachernitissa and the sacrifice with the composition of the breaking of the bread (Melismos). The soteriological message is emphasised by the figure of Christ sacrificed, from whose side flows the Divine Communion in which the faithful participate, and is completed by the presence of the church fathers who are officiating over the Holy Eucharist, together with the saint of the church, Saint Panteleimon, who was martyred for his faith. The inspiration of this new, dynamic figure of the Eucharistie Christ, coupled with the attempt to bring text, liturgical act and icon together in perfect harmony, needs to be understood in the light of the regenerative and intensely realistic spirit of the early Palaeologan era.