Chora Church: Four Gospel Hymnographers

More frescoes from Chora, in Istanbul.

The Four Hymnographers are seated in the pendentives below the dome. These are Byzantine poets noted for their hymns honoring the Virgin [224-227].

John of Damascus, in the northeast pendentive, is the most famous, a theologian active in the eighth century. He is identified by his turban and is depicted writing the Idiomela for the funeral service.

Kosmas the Poet, in the southeast pendentive, a student of John of Damascus, who is shown with an uninscribed book in his lap.

Joseph the Poet, in the southwest pendentive, holding a scroll on which he writes his Canon for the Akathistos Hymn, an addition to the most important Byzantine hymn honoring the Virgin. The verses connect Joseph to the Old Testament scenes depicted below him.

Theophanes Graptos, in the northwest pendentive, a ninth-century writer who was a monk at the Chora. He is shown writing verses from the funeral service, which refer to the adjacent scene of Jacob’s Ladder and to the role of the Virgin in salvation. Read more.

In this pendentive is Saint John of Damascus. He is clad in Oriental costumes.

Enjoy this chant of the Paschal Canon of Saint John:

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