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A Prince and His Monastery: Isaac Comnenus and the Church of the Virgin Kosmosoteira in Thrace (1152)

September 29, 2011

The monastery of the Kosmosoteira at Bera in Thrace (1152) is a key monument for understanding the material culture of Komnenian monasticism in that both the foundation typikon and the painted church survive. We also know a little more about its patron than is most often the case. Isacc Sebastokrator, son of Alexios I Komnenos, is pictured in the Kariye Camii in Istanbul in a fourteenth-century portrait, and he is clear in the typikon that he thinks of himself as an author. His foundation has been seen as an appropriation of the memory of his father equivalent to that of his sister Anna Komnene the historian, and the emperor John II Komnenos, their brother. In this lecture Nancy Sevcenko returns to her early work on the tomb of Isaac to look at the intriguing relationship between patron and church.


Portrait of the lecturer