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NEA MONI

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The Monastery of “Nea Moni” of Chios is a world heritage monument  since 1990  mainly because of its set of mosaics. In the 11th and 12th centuries they were decorated with superb marble works as well as mosaics on a gold background, all characteristic of the ‘second golden age of Byzantine art’. The mosaics of the Catholicon of “Nea Moni” are representative of the strict Byzantine art and they are invaluable. Here, the artist mixed the early Renaissance art, that came from the Greek regions of Asia Minor, with the priestly byzantine art and he created the monumental byzantine painting and tessellation of the Macedonian dynasty. The tesserae that are used are small and polyhedral in order to reflect light. They are also made of natural stone or glass.  The Monastery was founded in the middle of the 11 century and it was sponsored by the Emperor Constantinos IX Monomachos (Gladiator). The founding of the Monastery is associated with monastic traditions, according to which, at the place where the Catholicon was built, three hermits from Chios found the thaumaturgical icon of Virgin Mary, hanging from a myrtle branch. The hermits, whose names were Nikitas, Ioannis and Iosif, prophesied that Constantinos Monomachos, who was living in exile on the island of Lesvos, would become the Emperor of Constantinople. In return for their prophecy, they made the future Emperor promise that he would give a lot of money for the construction of a temple at the place where the myrtle was found.In 1049, the temple was inaugurated and the works finished after the death of
Monomachos in 1055, during the reign of Theodora  (1055-1056). In 1822, when the Monastery was burned and plundered by the Ottomans and then in 1881, when a strong earthquake destroyed the buildings of the complex. From the initial complex of the 11 century, the only ones that have survived are the Catholicon, the tank, the tower, a part of the Refectory and the temple of Saint Lukas, in the cemetery, out of the walls.
After Monomachos ascended to the throne, he kept his promise, the Catholicon was rebuilt and decorated with mosaics.

NEA MONI, 8.0 out of 8 based on 2 ratings

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