Church of Hagia Sophia in Mystras

The church of Hagia Sophia, a two-column cross-in-square domed church, was directly related to the palace. Initially the katholikon of a monastery, identified as the Monastery of Zoodotes Christos founded by the despot Manuel Kantakouzenos around the middle of the fourteenth century, the church was used as a palace chapel. Its sculptures, reused to a great extent, have been dated to the end of the twelfth or beginning of the thirteenth century, and have parallels in the templon of the church of Samarina in Messenia. The northeast chapel is sepulchral, while the southeast (built after 1366) has been associated with Isabelle de Lusignan, wife of the despot Manuel Kantakouzenos, and its painted decoration has been attributed to the same workshop that decorated the Peribleptos. Indeed, the decorative program, with its particular emphasis on the scene of the Birth of the Theotokos, was connected to Isabelle’s desire to bear a child.


Monogram of Manuel Kantakouzenos


Photo from Millet (1910)

Plan by Millet


Mistra, A Fortified Late Byzantine Settlement by Sophia Kalopissi-Verti

Les monuments byzantins de Mistra by Gabriel Millet


Mystras Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016