The 16th Century Donor Inscriptions in the Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin (Theotokos Molybdoskepastos)
The monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin (Theotokos Molybdoskepastos) lies in the province of Epirus, in a region called Pogoniane, close to the Greek-Albanian border. The katholikon of the monastery, dating in the late and post-byzantine period, is a quite distinguished case among the other monuments of the region during that time, while its wall paintings (from the late 13th-14th century and up to 16th century), that are currently undergoing an exemplary restoration, are still unpublished. Its donor inscriptions however, that date back to the second and third decade of the 16th century are already published. In fact, they constitute the oldest written evidence of a legend, which claims that the byzantine emperor Constantine IV (Pogonatos) was the one, who founded the monastery while returning from his campaign to Sicily. This legend was soon spread among the wider region of Epirus.
Christos Stavrakos investigates and gathers for the first time, all those monuments that according to tradition were founded by the said emperor. He seeks the reasons behind the appointment of this particular emperor as a founder of monasteries in the region and the spreading and perpetuation of this legend during the following centuries. At the same time he outlines the general socio-economic context of the region in a transitional period, i.e. the first decades that took place after the ottoman rule succeeded the byzantine.