Church of the Dormition, Daphni, Greece

Church of the Dormition, Daphni, Greece

Date Eleventh Century CE

Movement Byzantine

Located at Daphni, Greece

 

Though this Church employs the typical Byzantine format (Greek cross), it includes the Western devices of narthex and apse. Drawing from the Hagia Sofia, the dome here rests upon a drum, supported in turn by squinches, used to push the ceiling even higher and create even more vertical, awe-inspiring space. Though most of the mosaics of the Church were displaced, Christ Pantocrator remains—“the omnipotent Judge and Ruler of the Universe, the space in which all things exist”. By placing this Christ in the most important position of the Church, viewers would have completed their spiritual journey of sorts; while Western basilicas opted for the same experience (guiding visitors through Old Testament histories, New Testament accounts of Christ and culminating with Christ himself), the journey here in the Eastern world directed believers not only from one end of the Church to the other, but towards the heavens above—thus, Christ Pantocrator is the perfect icon for this placement.