«Τetralogy of Greek Culture»
Within the frame of the “Cultural Tetralogy”, dedicated to our historical heritage, we have organized in the Conference Hall “George Karayannis” of the Chamber of Commerce, the 2nd activity, of this program, a very interesting presentation of the distinguished archaeologist of the 4th Direction of Byzantine Archaeology Mrs. Eleni Papavassiliou on: «The sponsoring during the Byzantine period for sculpture and painting».
Mrs E. Papavassiliou has projected photographs of the sculptured pieces and the frescoes which adorn the Byzantine churches which are located either within the walls of the Medieval City of Rhodes or in the country side.
Τhe name of the sponsors are usually engraved on the sculptured pieces and the sponsors of frescoes, inside the churches, are usually depicted together with the members of their family, on a wall near the entrance of the church, with relevant inscriptions which give the name and other information concerning the sponsors.
Mrs. Eleni Papavassiliou has also told us the following:
Sponsoring was very common since the ancient years and has been carried on during the A.D. centuries. This is being certified through some samples of sculptured pieces on the island of Rhodes, mainly during the early Byzantine period, when sponsored frescoes are scarce. On the contrary, during the period of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem the cases of sponsoring frescoes are three times more important, when during the same period the sponsored sculpture pieces seem to be absent. Namely, during the early Byzantine period (5th-6th cent.) inscriptions on architectural pieces of Basilicas (columns, capitals of columns, breast works e.t.c.) have been saved giving us information on named or anonymous sponsors, such as the inscriptions found in the remains of basilicas in Afandou, Kalathos and Plymmiri on the island of Rhodes.
On the contrary most inscriptions found near the frescoes picturing the donors, sponsors and sometimes owners, as part of the decoration of the monuments which are saved in the medieval city of Rhodes as well as in the country side, going back from the 13th cent. A.D and up to the beginning of the 16th century. Most of these inscriptions express the appeal for help to God by the sponsors. On the other hand, the picturing of the sponsors, who could be alive when painted or dead, we see them “parade” in the frescoes of the churches and they are simple people, clergymen, monks, noblemen and officials who had sponsored the construction and the decoration of the church, for saving their souls…
Through this presentation, we are trying to notify to the public of Rhodes the wealth behind the externally humble churches, scattered in the city of Rhodes and the country side, most of which still remain unknown.