Stole, the gift of Roxandra, 16693 November 2011
Dimensions: length: 13 cm., breadth: 26.5 cm., diameter of medallions: 14 cm., length of inscription: 21.5 x 26.5 cm.
This stole has on it a depiction of the Root of Jesse29. The righteous Jesse, father of the prophet-king David, is shown as an old man with a long beard, lying on his right side with his head resting on the palm of his hand. A tree which branches into two emerges from his left side. As it rises, the whorls of the branches contain busts of the forefathers and forerunners of Christ from David, in the following order:
Their names are written in line right and left of their busts. All of them hold unfurled scrolls, except for Zechariah, who holds a seven-branched lamp below his words: “I foresaw thee, Virgin, as a lamp with seven lights, flooding the world with spiritual light”. In the medallion on the yoke is the Theotokos in the type of the Platytera*.
Around the recumbent Jesse is the prophecy of Isaiah: “AND THERE SHALL COME FORTH / A ROD OUT OF THE STEM / OF JESSE AND A BRANCH / SHALL GROW OUT OF HIS ROOT”. This is followed by the inscription in capitals: “THE HUMBLE METROPOLITAN OF THE MOST HOLY METROPOLIS OF LAODICEA / GRIGORIOS OF VATOPEDI IN THE YEAR ãAX•£ã (1669) OF THE INDICT 7”.
On a piece of material which has been added to the lower part of the vestment across its full breadth, there is the following inscription: “THIS HOLY VESTMENT WAS MADE AT THE EXPENSE / OF THE MOST ILLUSTRIOUS / DOMNITZA LADY / ROXANDRA / DAUGHTER OF VASILIOS THE VOEVODE IN ETERNAL MEMORIAL” (Fig. 374).
The stole is embroidered on red velvet with gold thread, silver thread, and silks. Gold thread has been used for the garments and nimbuses of the prophets, which are decorated with stones, and silver thread for the scrolls, whose mock inscriptions and the branches which twine around them are rendered in green silk. Also in green silk are the leaves, the grape clusters, and the blossoms on the branches. The stitches used are straight riza, vereriki, and broken isia.
Grigorios, the stole’s owner, was Abbot of Vatopaidi, and subsequently Abbot at Golia. In 1669 he was consecrated Metropolitan of Laodicea and at the same time was appointed general inspector of the Monastery’s estates in Wallachia. He was succeeded in 1693 by Iakovos30.
Roxandra, daughter of the Voivode Vasile Lupu, was herself a benefactress of the Vatopaidi Monastery. Widow of Timus Hmelnitski, whose father, Bogdan, was Hetman of the Ukraine, she ceded her estates in the Ukraine to the Monastery31.