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great grandson, imparting majesty to his rule on the throne, represents symbolic investiture to this ruler whose merits in building and restoring churches were immense. The representation of the local council has not only ideological and political significance, but also extols the support given by the ruler to the church and profession of faith.
The large, solemnly arranged cycle of St. Demetrius on well visible zones on the lateral walls formerly comprised eight scenes which flowed, interestingly, from the right to the left. On the northern side is St. Demetrius in front of emperor Maximian Galerius, St. Demetrius in prison bless- ing Nestor for his combat against the gladiator Lyaios, the Victory of Nestor over Lyaios and the execution of St. De- metrius, and on the southern side the ascension (Burial) of St. Demetrius and St. Demetrius defending Thessaloni- ca from enemies. The last two representations on the north- ern wall date from the 17th century, when that part of the church had to be rebuilt and the frescos repainted. The representations on the southern side were also partly re- painted at that time. Legend vividly describes the destiny of the great martyr who as the protector of the second larg- est town of the empire defended its inhabitants from bar- barian sieges and helped in fighting against the enemies a history closely connected to the arrival and subsequent life of the South Slavs on the northern borders of the country. at the same time, the great esteem for Saint Demetrius in Thessalonica, his large basilica sumptuously decorated with mosaics and reliefs, and his feast day in autumn with a great fair which attracted people from all walks of life to Thes- salonica spread the cult of this saint, particularly through Serbia and Bulgaria. Detailed representations of St. Deme- trius’ life, however, are very rare in monumental painting. The well-preserved cycles in Dečani and Peć belong to the most comprehensive and the most beautiful in all of Byz- antine art.
The southern wall of the western part of the nave dis- plays four historical portraits. The first is of a spiritual lead- er in a sakkos (tunic-like vestment) with a broad golden hem, decorated with tendrils bearing the images of the saints, wearing on his head headgear of an unusual shape resembling an emperor’s crown. The king and his young son are beside him—the visitor can read the names of Dušan and Uroš—they are in ankle-length attire strewn with gold- en ornaments, unusual for the tradition of rulers’ dress in Serbia and the Byzantine empire. They wear open crowns on their heads and hold crosses. The ruler is wearing a long loros (band of cloth) arranged in an X over his upper body, with peribrachions and epimanikia (cuffs) on his arms. The faces on all three figures have been erased, perhaps be- cause they were painted on a dried surface on which the pigment could not survive as it did on the other surfaces. We surmise that the masters were not familiar with the appearance of the men to be portrayed; while waiting for the men to come and pose in person they delayed finishing the fresco, preferring to portray them as precisely as pos-
Christ the Savior of the World, Church of the Holy apostles, south pilaster, the Patriarchate of Peć, before 1350
sible. For this reason only the figure of St. Sava with an in- scription on the western side of the wall is in good condi- tion. The artists knew his figure well and were able to paint it immediately in its entirety. There is no doubt that the first in the row was archbishop joanikije ii. This is proved by the text of the prayer inscribed below the Virgin Mary
Patriarchate of Peć

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