The Dionysiou Lectionary (Cod.587 in the Dionysiou Monastery on Mount Athos) possesses not only the largest illustrations among the seventeen manuscripts with th~ narrative cycle of Christ's life, but also the greatest variety of pictorial forms according to the importance of the texts and feasts. To grasp the characteristics of its iconographic program, I discuss on the illustrations for Holy Week.
The miniature depicting Christ's Prayer at Gethsemane
is placed at the top of the Twelve Evangelia for the Passion of Holy Thursday. Why is Christ depicted three times in different motions? Why the miniature of the Conference of the Chief Priests before Caiaphas
for the Liturgy of Holy Thursday has the same composition as the Conference ofthe Chief Priests before Pilate
for the Orthros of Holy Saturday? Why the Betrayal of Judas is selected for the Holy Friday Liturgy? To solve these questions, we have to interpret whole texts of the church services for the Passion and surviving illustrated lectionaries.
Our painter depicted the Prayer at Gethsemane
in the composition of Moses Receiving the Law
to emphasize Christ as New Moses and to visualize the typological correspondence between the Old and the New Testament.
The Conference of the Chief Priests
, an insignificant episode at a glance, is regarded as the important event which connects the Gospel typologically with the Psalter in the context of the liturgy. To emphasize the point visually, the Dionysiou Lectionary selected the Conference of the Chief Priests
with the same composition as the Psalter illustrations of the conference of the kings, in spite of the Gethsemane
scene originally suitable for the place.
Though the Betrayal
is suitable for the twelve Evangelia, being pushed out by the Gethsemane
, it is moved to the next position of the Holy Friday Liturgy. The main interest of the planner of the manuscript consists in the liturgy and the typology, and not in the correspondence with the text. The program of Holy Week in the Dionysiou Lectionary is deliberated carefully.
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