Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences
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The Representation of Holy Women during the Reign of Stephen the Great in Moldavia: Two Examples
Abstract:The aim of this paper is to present some results of my research regarding the representation of holy women in the Moldavian churches during the reign of Stephen the Great. Most frequently, these images are found in the narthex of the church, a space of lesser spiritual intensity. A general explanation for the depiction of holy women in the narthex is related to the actual presence of women in this space during the mass and to their role in the funerary ritual and the commemoration of the dead which take place here. My study focuses on the cases of Saints Mary of Egypt and Marina the Great Martyr, the two most depicted saints in the Moldavian churches. Firstly, they have a specific way of representation, in a narrative scene. Saint Mary of Egypt is depicted as an ascetic figure together with Saint Zosimas from whom she receives the Holy Eucharist, while Saint Marina wears a red maphorion and is depicted hammering a demon. Secondly, they both have a well-defined place on the church walls, as a result of the hagiography, playing a symbolic role in the economy of space and in the iconographic program. Saint Mary of Egypt has a place in the passageway areas, in interaction with the architecture. Her representation offers an example of repentance for the believers, reassuring them of the mercifulness of God. Saint Marina is placed close to the entrances of the church, may they be doors or windows, for her role in protecting the sacred places.
Keywords: Holy Women, Saint Mary of Egypt, Saint Marina the Great Martyr, Narthex, Iconography, Stephen the Great, medieval Moldavia
Citation suggestion: Ilie, Ancuța-Maria. “Reprezentarea sfintelor femei în bisericile pictate în timpul lui Ștefan cel Mare în Moldova. Două exemple.” Transilvania, no. 11-12 (2021): 85-90.