Church of Theotokos Peribleptos (Ohrid)
Church of Theotokos Peribleptos (Ohrid).

The Church of the Virgin Peribleptos (now St. Kliment), was built by the megas hetaireirarches Progonos Sgouros and his wife Eudokia in 1294/5, according to a fresco inscription over the entrance. The domed cross-in-square plan includes a tripartite sanctuary and a narthex covered by a central domical vault flanked by groin vaults. The masonry consists of alternating stone and brick courses, the latter arranged in lively decorative patterns; the main apse has niches. The program of wall paintings contains, along with scenes typical of contemporary Byzantine church decoration, a Passion cycle and Gospel scenes in the upper zones, the life of the Virgin in the lower zone of the nave, and the life of John the Baptist in the diakonikon. On the walls and vaults of the narthex are Prefigurations of the Virgin, the Vision of Christ as Angel (based on the Easter Homily of Gregory of Nazianzos), an image of the winged John the Baptist, and illustrations of the Nativity Hymn attributed to John of Damascus. In the wall painting in the south vault of the narthex the souls of the righteous are held in the Hand of God. The frescoes are the first documented work of the artists Michael Astrapas and Eutychios, whose names are inscribed on depictions of military saints painted on the west dome piers. The large number of small-scale scenes and the extended narratives (e.g., the Dormition), the developed compositions involving elaborate architectural backgrounds, and the numerous participants with their exaggerated gestures mark a mature Palaiologan style, although the crude red and blue colors and the over-voluminous bodies reveal a provincial variant. The same painters were responsible for icons made for the iconostasis at a somewhat later date (Ascension, Dormition, etc.); these are now housed in the nearby Gallery of Icons. During the later 14th century the church was enlarged with side chapels and outer aisles (ambulatory wings) and adorned with new frescoes and icons. The remains of St. Kliment of Ohrid were transferred here at the end of the same century.

Paintings_in_the_Church_of_the_Theotokos
Paintings_in_the_Church_of_the_Theotokos

Photos from Перивлепта Охридская

Church of Theotokos Peribleptos (Ohrid).
Church of Theotokos Peribleptos (Ohrid).

Plan by Ćurčić

Sources

Byzantine Architecture by Cyril Mango

Architecture in the Balkans from Diocletian to Süleyman the Magnificent by Slobodan Ćurčić

Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture by ​Richard Krautheimer 

Architecture in the Balkans by Curcic

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan

Resources

Ohrid Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

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