Vlachernae Monastery

Department Archive
Collection Byzantine Research Fund
Reference No. BRF/02/01/09/021
Level Item
Description Photographic Print
Dimensions 16.2 x 20.9 cm (H x L)
Place Vlachemae Monastery
Dates 1890
Creator Weir Schultz, Mr Robert
Barnsley, Mr Sidney Howard
Scope and Content East façade of the church. Further annotation survives on the back of the photograph.
Further information The katholikon of the Vlachernae monastery, north-east of Arta, is named after the famous Constantinopolitan Panagia ton Vlachernon. The present day church has several building phases. In the 1220s, the central apse of an earlier 10th century church was incorporated into a three-aisled domed basilica, thus serving as its diakonikon. Between the 1230s and the 1250s three domes were built over the naos and the building was decorated with impressive frescoes.

According to surviving funerary inscriptions distinguished members of the Petraliphas family, which the empress (basilissa) and later Saint Theodora belonged to, were buried in the church. Although two of the tombs still survive respectively in the western bay of the north and south aisles, they are modern restorations created in 1936 under the direction of A.K. Orlandos.

In the 1280s a narthex was added to the church and decorated with frescoes which were uncovered in the 1970s. Some of the iconography is unique such as the scenes of the Christmas Sticheron and the litany of the Hodegetria icon in Constantinople. The church had the richest sculptural decoration of all Arta churches: particularly impressive was the marble temple of the naos which was destroyed at an unknown date. Many pieces of the marble temple were incorporated into the church but some have been removed and reconstructed in the Byzantine Museum of Arta. Also, the floor of the church is an impressive example of the late Byzantine period and is unique amongst the churches in Arta.