The Church of the Panagia Kanakaria at Lythrankomi in Cyprus. Its Mosaics and Frescoes


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In 1895 the Russian scholar Jakov Smirnov visited the church which is the subject of this monograph. Since then it has been known to preserve remains of one of the few sacred compositions in mosaic in the Christian East that survived the edicts of the iconoclast emperors. After the Second World War structural repair of the building, undertaken jointly by the Church authorities and the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, led to the discovery of substantial additional parts of the mosaic. Cleaning and conservation followed, which made possible the preperation of the present detailed account of the mosaic and of the accompanying photographs (some in colour).

The theme-the Incarnation-the iconography, and the style of the mosaic are fully discussed. It comprised a central mandorla set between flanking angels and enclosing a formal image of the enthroned Virgin with the Christ Child before her; the original formula for the Theotokos, it is suggested. The framing border of the medallions containing busts of the Apostles is compared with similar mosaic borders in St. Catherine’s Monastery on Mt.Sinai and at Ravenna. This helps to place the Cypriot mosaic early in the reign of Justinian I, and to identify it as the work of local mosaicists, who, while in touch with the Hellenistic style of Antioch, reflected the central Byzantine tradition.

Also, included is an examination of the complex structural history of the building, which successive restorations transformed into a domed church, incorporating only the apse of the original basilica. The remins of wall paintings, dating principally from the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, are also described and illustrated.

Finally, there is an appendix on a legend at least as old as the ninth century, concerning a wonder-working mosaic of the Virgin and Child in Cyprus which has sometimes been associated with the Panagia Kanakaria.

As Director of Antiquities in Cyprus, A.H.Megaw was responsible for the work undertaken at the church until 1960; E.J.W.Hawkins carried out the conservation of its mosaic and took the photographs. Both engaged in undertakings of the Dumbarton Oaks Center in Istanbul and elsewhere, and published numerous articles dealing with Byzantine subjects.

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Additional information

Weight 1.015 kg
Dimensions 23.5 × 31 cm





Perfect condition, with its dust-jacket which is slightly stained and frayed edges, with black and white and colour photographs, line drawings, ground plans, map