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Blachernai, Basilica of the Virgin Mary

Author(s) : Moutafov Emmanuel (2/18/2008)
Translation : Loumakis Spyridon

For citation: Moutafov Emmanuel, "Blachernai, Basilica of the Virgin Mary",
Encyclopaedia of the Hellenic World, Constantinople
URL: <http://www.ehw.gr/l.aspx?id=11778>

Παναγία Βλαχερνών (2/9/2012 v.1) Blachernai, Basilica of the Virgin Mary (2/8/2012 v.1) 



Icon, usually of Christ, which-according to the legend-was non-hand made. Several legends concerning acheiropoietes icons appeared in Byzantium since the 6th c. and refer to objects which miraculously preserved the imprint of the face or the body of Christ, after having come in contact with Him. The most famous is the Holy Mandylion of Eddesa. During the middle byzantine period most of those acheiropoietes icons of Christ are forgotten, though many legends emerged concerning acheiropoietes icons of saints.

The elevated pulpit used for preaching in the church nave.

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.

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.

galea (from γαλαίος, “swordfish”, ) – a term introduced first by Leo VI to denote light, rapid dromones powered probably by one bank of oars. They were commonly used as messenger ships or for reconnaissance in enemy waters.

Iconographic type of the Virgin Mary. The Virgin is depicted standing, slightly turning to the right of the viewer, holding in her arms the infant Jesus. The type was named so after an allegedly thaumaturgic icon of the Virgin Mary kept in the monastery of Hodegoi in Constantinople.

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.

A women's garment covering the head and shoulders and sometimes reaching down to the feet. In Byzantium maphorion was the name of the Virgin's outer veil. According to the christian tradition it was preserved by apostle Thomas after the Dormition and 4-5 centuries afterwards it was transfered to Constantinople and deposited at the church of Blachernai. It was one of the most important relics gathered in Constantinople.

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.

(‘Treasure house’ or sacristy) A particular area or room in the churches for keeping vestments and the church furnishings, sacred vessel. Usually take place in the diakonikon, south (at right) from the central apse with the altar.

A wide and oblong elevated passageway in front of the central opening of the chancel screen that reached until the ambo; there stood the deacons and the lectors during the Service.

three-aisled basilica
An oblong type of church internally divided into three aisles: the middle and the two side aisles. The middle aisle is often lighted by an elevated clerestory. In the Early Byzantine years this type of church had huge dimensions.


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