Пътища на балканските зографи

Monastery of the Assumption, Divrovouni

View of the western wall of the naos

The monastery is not operating; it is situated above the village of Divri in the Divrovouni Mountains in Southern Albania. The only wholly preserved building is the church of the monastery. The earliest certain evidence of the existence of the monastery dates from the early 15th century.

The church has a plan of a three-nave pseudo-basilica with one protruding apsis from the east and a narthex which was painted later.

The ktetor’s inscription on the western wall of the naos provided evidence of the donors: the monastery brethren whose funds were used to renovate and paint the murals of the church. The frescoes were made by the icon-painters Michael and Constantine of Gramosta. Today the place in the inscription where the year of the painting was stated is destroyed. In the literature the years of 1603 and 1604 have been cited. The text also tells that the church is dedicated to the Holy Mother of God called “Βοντήστζῖς”, i.e. “Voditsa” [a diminutive of “water”], probably because of the spring located nearly which is still used by the shepherds.

St. Eustathius Placidas

Although they are in poor condition, the murals in the naos are preserved almost entirely. In the three parts of the sanctuary there are depictions related to theme of the Incarnation and the Eucharistic sacrifice. The zenith of the vault in the central nave is filled with the images of the Divine Liturgy, the medallions of Christ Pantocrator, Christ Emmanuel and the Virgin. In the arcs of the vault a register of scenes is formed in which there is a cycle of the Great Feasts extended by several episodes related to the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the keys of the arches the program of the central nave ends by the depictions of the writing evangelists. Thematically, the southern nave is dedicated to the Passions, the Acts and the Miracles of Jesus. Analogously to the writing evangelists, St. Basil the Great and St. John Chrysostom are represented in the keys of the arches. In the northern nave there are scenes from various cycles: the Holy Mother of God, Archangels, two of the Parables of Jesus as well as some episodes related to Old Testament characters. Here, in the altar section the scenes of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the Sunday of Orthodoxy were also added.

Part of the murals in the sanctuary

The bottom areas are filled with by medallion and full-length depictions of saints. In a place of honor, right in front of the iconostasis, are placed St. Nicholas (from the south) and Saint John the Baptist (from the north), as above the latter the scene of his martyrdom is also represented.

The patron-saint niche on the western facade with the depiction of the Virgin Hodegetria is painted simultaneously with the murals in the naos.


Maria Kolusheva



Τσάμπουρας, Θ. Τα καλλιτεχνικά εργαστήρια από την περιοχή του Γράμμου κατά τον 16ο και 17ο αιώνα. Ζωγράφοι από το Λινοτόπι, την Γράμμοστα, τη Ζέρμα και το Μπουρμπουτσικό. Θεσσαλονίκη, 2013 (διδακτορική διατριβή).

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