Church of the All-Holy Mother of God, Asinou

Date: Dedicated around 1100 with additional paintings added in subsequent centuries
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Cyprus
Description: This stone church on the island of Cyprus was dedicated to the Panagia Phorbiotissa (All-Holy Mother of God of the Pastures, or of the Spurges, a flowering shrub). Under an image of Constantine and Helena (south wall of the naos) is the name of the patron, the Byzantine dignitary Nikephoros Ischyrios, who founded the church in 1105/6. It soon became the church of a small monastery. The Virgin appears over the original west entrance with the Christ child in a medallion, and intercessory prayers by Nikephoros address her throughout the space. The lower zones of the apse show the Communion of the Apostles above a row of standing, frontal bishops. Unusually, a female saint, Mary of Egypt, was included at the left edge of the sanctuary.

A narthex added to the west was redecorated in the late twelfth century and with additions throughout the fourteenth century. Both monks and laypeople, concerned with salvation, commissioned wall paintings to place themselves within the venerable church. Near a fresco of St. George added at the end of the twelfth century, a woman named Anastasia kneels before St. Anastasia (added in the 1330s). A contemporary Last Judgment scene above St. George shows the punishments of sinners in Hell.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 7, 9
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons, Linda Safran, Navid Jamali

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Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, dome of the narthex, Christ Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, narthex, St. George Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, narthex, Anastasia Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, narthex, sinners in hell Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, exterior Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, lower zones of apse Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa,  St. Mary of Egypt Asinou, Panagia Phorbiotissa, plan and section