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  • Collection: Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi

46 Items

Apse frescoes of the Virgin Blachernitissa with the Fathers of the Church

The apse depicts the Virgin Blachernitissa in the posture of an orant flanked by the Fathers of the Church, including St. Cyril, St. Basil, St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. James with the names of two other saints missing. The semi-dome would have held a Pantocrator on the 1207/08 layer, but the traces of the earlier layer suggest that it once held the symbols of the four evangelists.

Type: Painting
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Christ and the apostles

Christ and the apostles stand immediately above the semi-dome of the apse on the triumphal arch. Christ is flanked by Saints Peter and Paul who have their recognisable features of white hair and beard for St. Peter and a dark beard and receding hairline for St. Paul. Although the scene has been quite damaged, some elements are very well preserved and the image of St. Paul was the only illustration used in the commemorative service books handed to priests during Pope John Paul II's visit to Damascus in 2001.

Type: Painting
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Cross

This cross was painted as part of the first fresco cycle at some point between 1058 and 1095. It is located on the eastern spandrel in the south aisle of the church.

Type: Painting
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Dayr al Hayek

Dayr al Hayek means "the monastery of the weaver" and is a cave south of Deir Mar Musa. The archaeological evidence found in the cave suggests that it was inhabited by a hermit in the early phase of the monastery when it was a lava. This means that the monks lived in cells/caves around the central monastic buildings and came together only for communal prayer at specific times. The cave was named due to the fact that a loom was discovered there. A new building now envelops the cave as an annexe to the main monastery of Deir Mar Musa.

Type: Landscape
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Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi

These views of the monastery are from the south, looking north. The western part of the monastery on this side is believed to date back to the Roman period and is now used as a kitchen and the south eastern part is a new addition to the monastic library and additional bathroom facilities. On the northern side of the monastery is the chapel, which dated back to the C6th although the roof was raised and it was altered in the C11th. The fortified section to the west has been attributed to the C14th-C15th.

Type: Architecture
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Detached fresco

This fresco is from the earliest layer of decoration that is post 1058 and pre 1095. The subject is unclear and the board on which it is preserved hangs on the west wall of the north aisle of the chapel.

Type: Painting
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Fresco of an angel

This angel has become the most well-known fresco at Deir Mar Musa as it is used as the symbol of the modern monastic community. This fresco is on the north side of the wall adjacent to the apse and is alongside an image of the Baptism of Christ. It is part of the second of the three levels of fresco and therefore can be dated to 1095.

Type: Painting
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Fresco of Simeon Stylites

This fresco is to the north of the Baptism of Christ fresco in the north east corner of the chapel. The untidy looking inscription beneath the painting is contemporary with the picture and is dated 1095, thus fixing the date of the second level of paintings in the church.

Type: Painting
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Fresco of the Baptism of Christ

This painting is on the east wall of the north aisle of the monastery chapel and is believed to have been painted in the area of the church used as a baptistery as a broken font was discovered in the valley below the church and has now been replaced in the north aisle. These frescoes are part of the second cycle painted in the chapel and date to 1095.

Type: Painting
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