4 Comments

  1. […] http://www.orthodoxartsjournal.org/the-ancient-churches-of-spain/Monday, May 27th 6:40 pmclick to expand… […]

  2. maja

    nice pictures-churches

  3. John Montag

    you might also include Sta Maria de Liébana, near Asturias in Cantabria. it too is pre-romanesque, with a distinctive drum and shallow dome–very Byzantine. the church sits in the hollow of seven mountains, and during a renovation in the 1970s, a large flat stone that had served for centuries as a step up to the altar was itself lifted, and discovered to be an ancient Celtic stele. with its location in the middle of the mountains, the church was evidently an ‘umbilicus mundi’ and a sacred place from time immemorial…

  4. Thank you, I had published a picture of one of these churches many years ago on my own short lived blog (far too busy to maintain a blog).

    What is most distinctively missing in your photographs as if perhaps it is the “elephant in the living room” is the frescos and images of the lives and works of Our Lord, Our Lady, the saints, old testament prophets. There is an “aniconism” tradition in Spain during the 1st millenium that was not addressed in this article, which while not being strictly iconoclastic is superficially identical to being thus.

    It seems from my studies that the Gallo-Roman rite emanating outward from Rome and Charlemagnes empire after 800 AD did in fact encourage more frescos painted more in line with the byzantine tradition than did the native mozarabic rite. This is clearly noticed in the post 11th century churches built in northern Spain, particularly throughout Catalunya, which are full of interesting frescos, thiugh being less sophisticated that the italians, they are nice enough. The closely related areas southern france before 750 also seems to make more use of images on church walls than did spain or portugal.

    Some of this is speculative on my part, but any concrete information you have on this matter is appreciated.

    It is fascinating to see the genuine interest in restoring and reusing ancient latin rite patrimony in newly built orthodox churches in the Americas and Western Europe which are historically the heart of the latin churches’s territory.

    I come from a “western rite parish vicariate” mission of ROCOR in the USA, thus I have great concern to properly learn the sacred art history of the latin west from before 1200 AD.

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