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Chora monastery (Kariye Camii)

Author(s) : Moutafov Emmanuel (2/8/2008)
Translation : Andriopoulou Vera (10/31/2008)

For citation: Moutafov Emmanuel, "Chora monastery (Kariye Camii)", 2008,
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Constantinople
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=11767>

Μονή Χώρας (Καριγιέ Τζαμί) (9/9/2009 v.1) Chora monastery (Kariye Camii) (6/28/2007 v.1) 



An arched srtucture or a semi-circular end of a wall. In byzantine architecture it means the semicircular, usually barrel-vaulted, niche at the east end of a basilica. The side aisles of a basilica may also end in an apse, but it is always in the central apse where the altar is placed. It was separated from the main church by a barrier, the templon, or the iconostasis. Its ground plan on the external side could be semicircular, rectangular or polygonal.

arch, the
A curved structure, as a masonry, that covers openings in the stonework and is capable to supports the weight of material over an open space, as in a bridge, doorway, etc. It is often used as a decorative element.

vaulted, semi-cylindrical construction used often as roof.

The area at east end of the naos in Byzantine churches, containing the altar, also referred to as the presbetery or hierateion (sanctuary). In these area take place the Holy Eucharist.

Iconographic type of Virgin Mary, whose name is based on a supposedly miraculous prototype located in the monastery of Blachernai. Theotokos is depicted in bust, while in front of her chest a medallion of Christ.

corner bays
In a cross-in-square church, they are the four compartements between the arms of the cross, that make inscribe the central cross into a square. They were usually covered with cross-or domical vaults.

cross-domed basilica
Type of domed basilica. A church plan, whose core, enveloped on three sides by aisles and galleries with a transept, forms a cross. The core is surmounted by a dome in the centre.

cross-in-square church
Type of church in which four barrel-vaulted bays form a greek cross; the central square of their intersection is domed. The cross is inscribed into the square ground plan by means of four corner bays.

Iconographic theme, an image of intercession for the salvation of the human race, which represents Jesus as the central figure, between the Virgin and St. John the Baptist

The twelve important Great Feasts of the liturgical year: the Annunciation, the Nativity, the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, the Baptism of Christ, the Transfiguration, the Entry into Jerusalem, Raising of Lazarus, Crucifixion, the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Dormition of the Virgin and Pentecost. During the middle and late Byzantine period, the Dodekaorton was represented in a series of scenes that were included in the typical iconographic programme of a byzantine church.

A characteristic element of Byzantine architecture. The dome is a hemispherical vault on a circular wall (drum) usually pierced by windows. The domed church emerges in the Early Byzantine years and its various types gradually prevail, while they are expanded in the Balkans and in Russia.

Whoever subscribes, financialy, to the errection of a certain structure (monument etc). In the case of the buildings, donors might lawfully relate to them via a special connection (usufruct or other).

drum of dome
Part of the church, semicircular or polygonal, on which rises an hemispheric dome

An icon type of Virgin Mary. She is depicted holding the Child, bending her head so as to touch his cheek with hers, while Jesus puts his arm around her neck.

Powdered glass of various colours which is heated and used as a decoration coat.

exonarthex (outer narthex)
The transverse vestibule or portico preceding the narthex of the church.

The upper level of a house where the women resided. In ecclesiastical architecture it is the corridor above the aisles and narthex of a church, from where women attended the Liturgy. Originally (in the Byzantine period) the gallery, having a special entrance, was used exclusively by the emperor and the members of the royal family.

grand vizier
Highest government official in the Ottoman Empire, second only to the Sultan. Before the 19th century he led the Ottoman army to war, when the Sultan could not go. He had vast administrative, legislative and judiciary responsibilities. During the reforms of the 19th century the office became even more important, as the grand vizier became in fact the head of the Ottoman government, very similar to the prime minister.

Heavenly Ladder
The Heavenly Ladder, also known as Jacob's Ladder, refers to the vision of the biblical patriarch, as it is related in Genesis 28:11-19. In theological tradition, the Ladder is interpretated as a prefiguration of Christ (who bridges the gap between the Earth and the Heaven), but more oftenly it appears as a paradigm for the spiritual ascetic life. A well-known and popular Byzantine text exposing this analogy was written by the Sinai monk John of the Klimax; an 11th-C. illustrated copy of it had a certain impact on monumental iconography, too.

The main church in a monastic complex, heart of the monastic activity.

khan (Ilkhan), khagan
This title was used in Turkic and Mongolian languages to designate the supreme ruler. The Byzantines used it to refer to the rulers of the Avars, Khazars, Turks and Bulgarians.

In byzantine painting the term indicates the circle containing representations of the busts of holy figures, floral or geometrical patterns as well as inscriptions.

megas logothetes
The head of the civil Byzantine administration. Megas logothetes was a title used at the end of the 12th century during the reign of Isaac II Angelos (1185-1195), replacing the “logothetes ton sekreton”, an office which was created during the reign of Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) to bring the entire civil administration under the control of a single individual.

ministry cycle
An iconographic cycle compiling scenes of the miracles of Christ.

A portico or a rectangular entrance-hall, parallel with the west end of an early Christian basilica or church.

Semi-circular recess on the surface of the wall.

A chapel of small dimensions attached to a foundation or a larger church. Byzantine chapels were often used a burial places.

pastophoria (parabemata)
Rooms or places that as a rule surrounded the apse, next to to the Holy Bema, of the Paleochristian or Byzantine churches, namely the diakonikon and the prothesis.

Pier of square or rectangular cross-section.

Honorary title of the Byzantine court. The office was established in 1081 by Alexios I Komnenos for his elder brother Isaac, equivalent to the one of regent


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