Hagios Ioannes ho Theologos

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/01/01/01/044
Level Item
Place Hagios Ioannes ho Theologos
Athens
Dates 1888-1890
Creator Weir Schultz, Mr Robert
Barnsley, Mr Sidney Howard
Scope and Content West elevation (left), Jamb mouldings section (right). The drawing is entitled: ' St John the Theologian, Athens', 'West Elevation'. Furher annotation in pencil survives.
Further information The small church of Hagios Ioannes ho Theologos in Erechtheas Str., Plaka, is of the two-column, cross-in-square architectural type with Athenian dome and narthex. The masonry is in regular cloisonné but displays a restricted use of Kufic ornamental elements: bricks decorated with patterns imitating pseudo-Kufic motifs of the simplest type fill in the gaps only between the courses and the roof. The absence of such decoration could date the church to the beginning (?) of the 12th c. It is one of the few Byzantine monuments in Athens with surviving fresco decoration. In terms of style comparisons could be drawn between these frescoes and early thirteenth-century wall-paintings of other Attica monuments such as the church of Hagios Petros at Kalyvia Kouvara (1232) and the Penteli Cave (1233/4).

Both in terms of iconography and style, the decoration of the church bears very strong western (crusader) influences: large-scale military saints are depicted on horses in a flat, decorative manner, traces of stucco with painted decoration have been preserved on the marble columns which support the central dome. The same technique was used for the decoration of the marble columns in the church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, executed during the Latin occupation (1130-1169), as well as in Cypriot churches of the 12th century.