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Our Lady Hodegetria (the leader of the way)

Neighboring the church of Saints Theodore, is the church of Our Lady Hodegetria, the second one built by the abbot Pachomios in the early 14th century. It was the main church of the monastery of Vrondohi.

It is designed in accordance with the large churches of Constantinople and it was the first church in Mystras to apply the complex architectural style that combines a basilica on the ground floor and a cross-in-square with five cupolas on the upper floor. A pair of two floor chapels was built on each side of the narthex, while another two ground floor chapels can be seen on the north lodge. A three floor belfry rises in the west lodge. The chapel in the south lodge was used as a cemetery during the 14th century. It was there that Theodore II Palaiologos was buried.

The wall paintings of the central church, date back to the early 14th century and are directly linked to the art style of the Constantinople churches of the same period. However, only some fragments have been saved. The wall paintings in the chapels are better preserved. They date to different periods. The wall paintings at the northwest chapel are contemporary to those in the church. They are representations of the Martyrs and document the artists’ craftsmanship of that period. At the southwest chapel, visitors can see copies of four golden bulls, donations made to the monastery by byzantine emperors that date between 1312/3 and 1322. The wall paintings in the next two chapels date back to 1366.

The church of Hodegetria, with its magnificent frescos, is considered to be the best representation of the byzantine glory. It is also known as “Afentiko” (the boss).


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