he 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 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 academics who specialize in Byzantine Art, History, and Archaeology. Although the main text is 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 also features the first ever authoritative account of the Monastery’s history.
This 552 page linen-bound hardcover volume (32×23 cm) 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, #123, May 2011
“The sheer quantity, range and quality of this artwork is astonishing…”
Art & Christianity Journal, #73, Spring 2013