"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Byzantine Liturgical Art

Studies of Byzantine liturgics continue to emerge. One recent study examines an especially under-studied area: liturgical art.  George Galavaris, Colours, Symbols, Worship: The Mission of the Byzantine Artist (Pindar Press, 2010), 440pp. with 370 illustrations.

About this book and its author, the publisher tells us:

Trained as an archaeologist and art historian and being a practising painter, Professor Galavaris has been able to relate diverse disciplines in his work, as shown by the wide range of his numerous publications. He moves from the early history of the eucharistic bread in the Orthodox Church, the dramatic impact of the Liturgy on illuminated Byzantine manuscripts, to the role of the icon in: the life of the Church, the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and the European painting of the 20th century. He is a leading authority on the study of the relationship between worship, Liturgy and art. Whether it is the cult of the Byzantine Emperor or the Eucharistic Liturgy, manifested in numismatics, illuminated manuscripts, icons, church lights (candles and oil lamps) - all witnesses of the creative forces of the Byzantine artist - Galavaris' interests are symbols, forms and their meaning. He investigates their contribution to worship, to the visual shaping of the Liturgy and how they reveal the freedom and the mission of the artist in realizing the Unseen in everyday life.
The 31 studies in the present volume, published over 40 years (5 of them appear in English for the first time) are brought together with an introduction, annotations and an index. The volume contributes essentially to our knowledge of the spirituality of the Eastern Church.
I look forward to seeing this reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies.

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