Pair of epimanikia with the Communion of the Apostles, mid 17th century

3 November 2011

Dimensions: edges: 34 cm., 24 cm., length: 23 cm.

Each of this pair of epimanikia is decorated with the Communion of the Apostles: Communion with Bread (Metadosis) and Communion with Wine (Metalepsis). In the centre, Christ, the Great High Priest, is shown below the ciborium and in front of the Holy Table, on which there is a paten with broken bread and a chalice with wine. On the left cuff, Christ is giving the Bread to the Apostles, who approach with awe and in order. They are without nimbuses and appear to come from a kind of aediculum. Christ inclines His head to the left, and is stretching out His hand to give the Bread to the first Apostle. The scene is adorned on either side with a vase of carnations. The upper part of the cuff has the inscription: “TAKE EAT THIS IS MY BODY”. The scene is repeated on the other cuff, but here Christ inclines His head to the right and holds out the chalice to the Apostles, who are gathered as on the other cuff. The inscription above reads: “DRINK YE ALL OF THIS, THIS IS [MY BLOOD]”.

The liturgical cuffs are embroidered on red velvet in gold thread, silver thread, and silk threads. The faces are rendered realistically, in the riza stitch in light grey and the hair in dark grey (for older men) and chestnut. On the garments, straight riza, and oblique and straight spasmeni have been used. The nimbus of Christ alone is decorated with stones. The way in which the altar cloth has been rendered points to a folk workshop. A comparison with other examples, some of which are also on the Holy Mountain (Iveron Monastery), leads us to attribute these epimanikia to the Sinope workshop of the mid 17th century37.