Page 64 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Gojko Subotić
 ald and executor of divine will on earth, had shrines ded- icated to him throughout the Christian world—ranging from cult sites in the east, across southern italy (Monte Sant angelo) to Normandy (Mont Saint-Michel). all these are on heights and frequently above water from where Michael descended to succor men or to punish them by meting out justice. in a vivid depiction of the struggle waged by the lone Peter against evil powers which had populated the surrounding caves and disturbed him in his spiritual devotions, Teodosije recounts that Peter op- posed them by praying and making the sign of the cross. Similarly he was saved from Satan, embodied in the “ter- rible dragon” by the archangel Michael himself. For this reason, the archangel was awarded the spot right next to the “altar space.” Behind him, also at the behest of the Ko- riša hermit, is St. Peter because his namesake adopted the saint’s name when he become a monk in a church dedicated to the apostle, near his village.
The archaic iconographic elements and the simplified forms of the depictions, lack plasticity but are nonethe- less expressive with powerful dark lineaments and rich ornaments recalling the art of earlier times, expressive- ness that lasted longer in the regions of the empire, par- ticularly in Cappadocia, in the largest hermitage in the Byzantine world.
it also characterized the frescos in the shrines of the Basilian monks in southern italy and in the rock-hewn churches in Sicily. in a specific way, the wall-paintings of the time of Peter of Koriša, were similar to those in the
Monastery of Saint Peter of Koriša, ground plan
well-known Prizren Gospel, a rare preserved example of Serbian manuscript illumination originating in this area which itself followed the simple, even rustic language, of linear forms so typical of the older sculptural art devel- oped on the adriatic coast. However, a number of histori- cal reasons and especially the parallel appearance of Greek and Slavic inscriptions on the frescos, indicate that the hermit’s cell was decorated in the second quarter of the 13th century, undoubtedly after the permanent integration of the Prizren region into the borders of the Serbian state.
as testified to by younger anchorites attracted to Pe- ter by his holy life, the hermit prepared his own tomb. it was located, as investigations have shown, in a cavity in the back of the cave and therefore the Deisis across the whole wall in this part of the cell is of special significance. The depiction of the prayer which the Holy Mother of God and john the Baptist address Christ for the salvation of sinners (usually drawn in the central part of the Last judgment scene) suited its sepulchral character.
The veneration shown to the Koriša hermit during his lifetime was intensified by legends and grew into a cult. a number of caves near the cell were inhabited by ascet- ics who followed his example, while several decades later a church was built next to the cell on the southern side. in this new space the old hermit’s cell acquired the status of a parekklesion. Later documents indicate that Peter’s abode was placed under the aegis of the Serbian monas- tery of Hilandar on Mt. athos, whose representative in Metohija was Grigorije, an aged hermit. it was his wish

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