Byzantium Exhibition Includes Mount Athos Treasures

ROME, SEPT. 2, 2003 ( The splendor of Byzantine spirituality is being exhibited in Rome.

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Paintings on wood, frescoes and icons, kept in the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens, are on display in Rome until Sunday, at the Capitoline Museums (

Many of the works of art come from the monasteries of Mount Athos, especially some of the icons, jewels and liturgical objects in silk or gold. Mount Athos has some 20 monastic centers that have existed for more than 1,000 years in the theocratic republic situated in a peninsula in northeastern Greece.

The exhibition brings together masterpieces from the 15th to 18th centuries, namely, works produced after the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks (1453). The icons reflect Ottoman influence, as well as Cretan and Venetian.

The 54 masterworks highlight the evolution of art from the Ottoman conquest to the establishment of the modern Greek state in 1830.

Konstantin Yerostokopulos, the ambassador of Greece in Rome, said: «Byzantium is the bridge between the Classical world and the Christian world, between East and West, between the old and new Rome and, therefore, between Greece and Italy.»

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