No. XXXVII (2006)

La Theotokos LYCNIA dans l’art et l’hymnologie

Mirjana Tatić Đurić

Published 01.12.2006


  • Volcano church,
  • Moschos brothers,
  • Virgin Lychnia,
  • Maria Illuminatrix,
  • candlestick with seven branches

How to Cite

Tatić Đurić, M. (2006). La Theotokos LYCNIA dans l’art et l’hymnologie. Balcanica - Annual of the Institute for Balkan Studies, (XXXVII), 89–101. DOI


In the composition “Prophets have announced you” in the narthex of the Volcano church in the Peloponnesus, two Moschos brothers painted the image of the Virgin Lychnia with a seven-branch candelabrum as one of her Old Testament prefigurations. A candlestick with seven branches of pure gold is referred to in Exodus 25:31-40; as a symbol of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Revelation 4:5; and with a glass and seven lamps in Zechariah 4:2-3. The seven-branched candelabrum has a long history in art and may be traced back to the wall-painting of Dura Europos or to an illumination in Cosmas Indicopleustes’ Christian Topography. In liturgical poetry and hymnology, inexhaustible source for understanding the image of the Virgin as Lychnia, she is described as Maria Illuminatrix. Like God’s temple and God’s lamp, the Virgin Lychnia symbolizes the light of the whole world spreading like the triple light of three holy suns and reflecting the glory of God before the creation of the world.