Dobbedreef 25, NL- 2331 SW Leiden, The Netherlands

Tel. +31 71 576 11 18 Fax: +31 71 572 75 17




VAT number NL209186367B02
Dutch Chamber of Commerce registration number 28088681
Postbank, Amsterdam, BIC or Swift code: PSTBNL21 Acc. no. 5219443
IBAN: NL41PSTB0005219443












the pictorial cycles of the akathistos hymn

for the virgin


Ioannis Spatharakis


The pictorial cycles of the Akathistos reveal how the artists and their sponsors interpreted each of the twenty-four stanzas of this celebrated hymn for the Virgin. They may help scholars, other than art historians, who have neglected this visual aspect until now in their vast bibliography, to form a better idea of the multiple meaning of the Akathistos text. This book aims to enrich the comparatively limited bibliography on the illustration of the Akathistos, also by including a few practically unknown cycles, mainly from Crete.

The author of this publication mainly gathered the material for this study when he was lecturing at the University of Crete in Rethymnon (1980-1990). He studied there six Akathistos cycles decorating churches, to which he primarily focuses here; equal attention is, however, paid to the cycles outside Crete. In total, twenty-two cycles of the Akathistos are examined here, painted in murals, manuscripts and icons.

The first part of this book investigates the iconography of the Akathistos per cycle. But if one would also like to know how the pictures look per stanza, he will be faced with the tiring task of searching for it in every cycle. Therefore, the decoration of the Akathistos is also separately examined and reproduced per stanza.

The various cycles are illustrated in this book with approximately three hundred reproductions in colour. The black and white reproductions display them per stanza, so that the reader can perceive the iconography of a certain stanza in almost a glance. Comparative material appears in both kinds of reproductions, colour and black and white.

CONTENTS: Foreword, Introduction, The Akathistos on Wall Paintings: Panagia Roustika, Rethymnon; Panagia, Meronas, Amari; Monastery of St. Phanourios, Valsamonero, Kainourgion; Monastery of the Hodegetria, Kainourgion; Panagia, Kavousi, Hierapetra; Panagia, Vori, Pyrgiotissa; Panagia Olympiotissa, Elasson; Panagia ton Chalkeon, Thessaloniki; St. Nicholas Orphanos, Thessaloniki; Pantokrator Church, Decani; Church of the Virgin, Matejce; Peribleptos, Ochrid; St. Demetrius, Marko; Katholikon of the Holy Trinity, Cozia. The Akathistos in Manuscripts: The Synodal and Escorial Manuscripts; The Tomic and the Serbian Psalters. The Akathistos in Icons: The Icon on the Skopelos Island; The Icon in the Kremlin Museums of Moscow; The Uspenskij Icon in the Moscow Kremlin. The Iconography of the 24 Stanzas, Conclusions, The Akathistos Hymn (Greek text and English translation), General Index, Bibliography, List of Illustrations, Illustrations 1-726.

"This is an encyclopedic book of high quality, which will serve as an excellent starting point for meticulous studies of points of detail," Christopher Walter, in Revue des Etudes Byzantines, 64/65 (2006/2007), 411-412.

Bound, 24 x 17 cm., 490 pp. (256 pp. text, 302 illustrations in full colour and 424 in black and white)

2005     ISBN-10: 9080647659 ISBN-13: 9789080647657

Price: Euro 250

Akathistos, Stanza 23, Singing your giving birth, St. Demetrius, Marko, 1376-81 A.D.