The main representatives of hagiography

Most Significant Hagiographers

The main representatives of hagiography

        Below we indicatively report the names of some of the main representatives of hagiography without naturally exhausting the list of the large number of masters who served the art with humility, anonymously or not, small and big, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

Evangelist Luke: Book title, "The course of hagiographic art through time".

Saint Lazaros the Confessor: He lived during the time of the iconomach king Theophilos. Because he was a hagiographer he was accused to the king and was subjected to severe tortures. The executioners placed on his palms red hot horseshoes and from the great torment he seemed as dead. The grace of God however protected him. Afterwards the queen asked Theophilus to free him, which was done. Saint Lazarus went secretly to the Church of the Holy Forerunner the Frightful and lived there. While he still suffered from his burn wounds he drew the icon of the Holy Forerunner which performed many miracles. We celebrate the memory of Saint Lazaros on the 17th November.

Saint Methodios the monk: He preached the Christian faith to the Bulgarians.

Saint Dionysios of Olympus: About his life the following is reported. While sitting with the rest of the monks he said, "Here come to us two monks", and taking a piece of paper he drew their faces, because he was very good at drawing, drawing one with beard while the other younger. Truly the next day came to the monastery two deacons. The first one who was bearded was called James, who remained and passed away at the monastery, while the second, younger, called Elijah, who became the abbot and later bishop of Platamon.

Eulalios: He lived during the time of Justinian 2nd. He painted the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.

Heraclidis the Byzantine: He was born in Constantinople, of unknown date. The early historians eulogized him saying that he stood equal to the early famous painters Apelli and Agatharhos

Paul the mosaicist: He created a magnificent icon of Christ in the Church of Saint Sophia in Constantinople

Monk Steven: He was a painter and confessor. He suffered tortures during the time of king Constantine Capronymus for his support of the holy icons.

Andrew, son of Artavastos: He was the official hagiographer during the time of Constantine Porphyrogenetos. It is believed he was of Persian ancestry.

The Greek Hagiographers from Constantinople: They painted during the 11th century, following a miracle, the Church of the Dormition of the Theotokos in the famous Monastery of the Cave in Kiev, where they became monks, after the completion of their hagiographic work.

Paul the hagiographer: It is not known when he lived. He painted Saint George on his horse and his icon proved miraculous. Historians praise this artist by writing : "Paul the magnificent painter".

Michael Astrapas and Eutyhius: Both excellent painters. They came from Thessaloniki and did many wall paintings in many Serbian Churches. Of special mention is the Church of Saint George at Staro Nagoritsino in Serbia (1313-1317).

George Kalliergis: Official hagiographer who painted the Church of the Saviour Christ at Veria of Macedonia in 1315 during the reign of Andronikos Paleologos.

Manuel Panselinos: Top hagiographer of the 14th century and one of the most important representatives of the Macedonian School. Unfortunately no source was found to inform us on his life. According to tradition he was from Thessaloniki. Only Dionysios from Fourna in his manuscript "The Interpretation of the Art of Painting" informs us, that the hagiographies of the Church of Protatus at the Holy Mountain were of Mr. Manuel Panselinos. Dionysios further informs on some portable icons of Panselinos, without however having any information on them. Finally, the hagiography of the Chapel of Saint Euthymius at Saint Demetrios in Thessaloniki is believed was made by Panselinos due to the striking resemblance of the technic in relation with that at Protato.

Nicholas Joannou and Kastrisios: They came from Kalambaka of Thessaly. They painted the catholicon of the Monastery of Saint Steven at Meteora in 1501.

Monk Theophan the Cretan: Top hagiographer of the 16th century and the most significant representative of the Cretan School. Monk Theophan Strelitzas known as Bathas, must have been born in Heraklio in the last fifteen years of the 15th century and followed the family profession of painting. At an appropriate age he got married and had two children, Symeon and Nifo-neophytos. Then for some reason- perhaps due to the death of his wife- he became a monk. The first mention of hagiographer Theophan is found in the inscription in the catholicon of the Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Anapafsa at Meteora in 1527. In 1535 he painted the catholicon of the Holy Monastery of Great Lavra at the Holy Mountain, where he settled with his two sons. In 1545, with co-worker his son Symeon, he wall painted the catholicon of the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita. Having lived for quite a few years at the Holy Mountain, he returned to his country Crete where he reposed on the 24th February 1559, the day he prepared his testament. His two sons continued his work.

Anthony the Cretan: Austere and simple hagiographer. He painted the catholicon of the Monastery of Xenofondos at the Holy Mountain.    

Georgis the Cretan: Excellent hagiographer, student of Theophan the Cretan. He hagiographed the catholicon (nave) of the Holy Monastery of Saint Dionysios in 1545.

Priest Euphrosynos: He hagiographed portable icons some of which are at the Monastery of Saint Dionysios of the Holy Mountain (Great Supplication etc). He lived in the 16th century. He was a very good artist of the Cretan School.

Frangos Catelanos: He came from Thebe. He is considered one of the best hagiographers of the 16th century. He hagiographed the chapel of Saint Nicholas in the Monastery of Great Lavra of the Holy Mountain, as well as the catholicon of the Varlaam Monastery at Meteora. He came from the Cretan school but was been strongly influenced by the West.

George, priest and sacristan of Thebes. Great wall painter who painted the nathrex of the catholicon of the Varlaam Monastery at Meteora in 1566.

Monk Daniel: He hagiographed the catholicon of the Monastery of Coronis at Pindus in 1587.

Andrew Ritsos: Iconographer who lived in the latter part of the 15th century. His works are found in Italy and in Patmos.

Michael Damascene the Cretan: He was born most probably in 1530-1535. There is little known of his life and activities and his dated icons are few. He was a magnificent artist and the greatest known part of his signed work is safely kept at Corfu. The existence of a large number of paintings by Italian artists in Crete influenced the Greek hagiographers. So even the above hagiographer used Italian elements in his hagiographies corresponding perhaps to the wishes of his customers. Damascene enjoyed great fame and his influence on his contemporaries and succeeding painters was great. Iconographic forms that look like they were introduced or crystallized by him, became greatly popular and were copied until the mid 18th century.

Emmanuel Lambardos: He lived in the beginning of the 17th century. He hagiographed only portable icons in which a conscious ignorance of the works of Damascene and of Klodja were noted and returned to the paleologian and early Cretan prototypes.

Angelos the Cretan: Great hagiographer who painted only portable icons and lived in the early 17th century.

Hieromonk Jeremiah Palladas: One of the most famous hagiographers of his time. He was a Sinaite hieromonk but lived at Handaka, from where he came. He enjoyed a great fame between his contemporaries, who considered him a great imitator of the "novices of early iconographers", he taught the art to student hagiographers. He was attached to the traditional style and rarely did he use Italian elements. He reposed before 1660.

Priest Emmanuel Djanes: He was born at Rethimno around 1610 and reposed in Venice on 28 March 1690. He was considered the most significant Cretan hagiographer of the latter mid 17th century. He lived at the time of the destructive Cretan war (1645-1669) and was forced to become a refugee. Crete was extinguished as a creative artistic centre and painters departed mainly to Zakynthos and Corfu, from where some went to Venice. Sometimes he followed the byzantine prototypes of the 14th and 15th century and other times he was inspired by western works following at specific times Flemish copperplate engravings. It is estimated that over one hundred works of Djanes have been saved.

Constantine Condarines: One of the most prolific hagiographers of the first three decades of the 18th century. He lived in Corfu and followed in most of his works the style of Fr. Emmanuel Djanes.

Hieromonk Dionysius of Fourna: He was born around 1670 in the village of Fourna of Halkis. He hagiographed portable icons but also wall paintings mainly in the cell of the Holy Forerunner at the Holy Mountain, where he lived. He admired the works of Panselenus which he tried to imitate. He is considered one of the most significant hagiographers of his time, leaving behind his worthy students. Having deep desire to bring back the byzantine tradition, which was declining due to the influence of the Western style he co-authored the " Interpretation of the art of painting". Due to his attachment to the traditional prototypes, he suffered persecutions by his colleagues and was forced to leave the Holy Mountain. The precise date of his repose is not known.          

George Markou: His place of birth was Argos. He was a prolific wall painter. He worked in the area of Athens. He painted the catholicon of the Monastery of the Bodyless at Petraki in 1719. His last and most important work due to the plethora of the iconized Saints, was the wall painting of the Monastery of the Revealed at Salamis in 1735. His students and the students of his students reached almost the end of the 18th century.

Demetrius Zoukis: He came from the town of Kalarrytes. One of his works is the painting of the nathrex of the Monastery of the Entrance at Meteora in 1784.

John Anagnostis: He painted the catholicon of the Monastery of Spiliotissa near the village of Artsista Zogariu in 1810.

Athanasius Pagonis Vrahiotis: He painted the catholicon of the Monastery of the Appearance at Calliphoniou in the area of Karditsa in 1840.

Vasiliοs Grevenitis: He hagiographed the Church of Saint Nicholas in the village Varyboby at Trikala in 1863.

Fotis Kondoglou: He was born at Kydonies (Aivali) in Asia Minor in 1895. After the death of his father, his uncle, hieromonk Fr Stephan Kondoglou, abbot of the monastery of Saint Paraskevi, assumed his custody. He completed his school at Aivali and was a member of a team of students who were publishing the journal "Melissa" which Kondoglou used to illustrate with his drawings. He registered at the School of Fine Arts in Athens and then went to Paris in 1814 where he studied the various schools of painting. After many wanderings and journeys he finally settled in Athens. In 1923 he traveled to the Holy Mountain where he discovered the byzantine hagiography and since then struggled for the revival of the art. During the decade of 1950-1060 he reached the apex of his hagiographic effectiveness. He presented various exhibitions of painting, he worked as maintainer of icons in museums and he was honoured with the Academy of Athens Award for his book "The expression of the Orthodox Iconography" and generally he had a rich contribution in the area of art. He hagiographed many portable icons and painted the churches of Zoodohou Pigis (Life giving spring) at Peanias, the Annunciation of the Theotokos in Rhodes, Capricareas in Athens and many more. He is considered the restorer of the Orthodox Hagiography and was a faithful child of the Orthodox Tradition. The contemporary hagiographers owe him greatly. His students were even distinguished painters, such as John Tsarouhis, Nicos Engonopoulos etc. He reposed on July 13, 1965 due to complications sustained in a car accident in the area of Faliron.      



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