A-to-Z Index

Virgin Galaktotrophousa,

Behind the Scenes

Virgin GalaktotrophousaPrint of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa

Virgin Galaktotrophousa, engraved copper plate, Gabriel of Skopelos, Mount Athos, 1871.

The Artist

The possibility of producing multiple images from this single printing plate is one of the reasons the piece is so fascinating. The sculptor incised his design, in reverse, into the plate’s hard metal surface.  Over and again a thin layer of black ink was laid over the plate’s surface filling its recessed design.  Next a large sheet of plain paper was pressed down on top of the plate, transferring the mirror image of Mary and Christ onto the paper. This process of engraving and printing could produce several hundred identical paper icons from a single original.

 In 1871, as the plate’s inscription records, a community of Byzantine monks living in the remote spiritual center of the “Holy Mountain” (Mt. Athos, Greece) commissioned the production of the printing plate from the engraver, Gabriel of Skopelos. Gabriel, himself a monk, appears to have been an itinerant artist who traveled to Mt. Athos to fashion the plate in the monastery’s sophisticated printing workshops. The hundreds of paper icons produced from the plate, honoring one of the monastery’s most treasured sacred images of the Virgin and Child, would have been distributed to humble pilgrims as well as wealthy donors, in return for their financial support of the monks.  The prayers inscribed on the plate directly address this audience of devout Orthodox Christians in the Byzantine tradition, both Greek and Slavonic speaking, who would venerate Mary and Christ through contemplation of such paper icons.

Question: Where is Mount Athos, where the artist came from?

Answer: http://www.macedonian-heritage.gr/Athos/General/Art.html

Question: What are some differences between the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches?

Answer: http://christianityinview.com/comparison.html or for a more detailed explanation:


The Researcher

Dr. Sarah T. Brooks is an Assistant Professor of Art History in the School of Art, Design and Art History at James Madison, and a specialist in Byzantine and Renaissance Art.  She researched this copper plate, building upon earlier investigations by Madison alumna Caroline Halayko and Jack McCaslin, James Madison Professor of Printmaking. Dr. Brooks’ article on the piece appears in the Journal of Modern Hellenism 2009-2010 (see below for complete text).


An Engraved Copper Plate of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa.

Images from the Holy Mountain in the Modern Age of Reproduction.


Sarah T. Brooks, James Madison University


The veneration of famed icons from the Byzantine past has remained a life blood of the Christian Orthodox faith since the fall of the empire in c. 1453.  Modern versions of such renowned Byzantine icons, printed on loose sheets of paper by the hundreds using a single engraved copper plate, remain one of our richest sources for this enduring devotion to Byzantine tradition into the modern period.  Such paper icons enjoyed great popularity from the late seventeenth to late nineteenth centuries, and they represent an important stage in the evolution of modern printing, between medieval woodblock printing and the rise of modern lithography and photographic techniques in the late nineteenth century.[i]

Modest in price, copper-plate printed paper icons were widely distributed to the Orthodox faithful. They served a number of purposes, including as memorials of pilgrimage, acquired by travelers to medieval Byzantine sites such as the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and the Monastery of St. Katherine on Mt. Sinai in Egypt.[ii]  Needy ecclesiastical foundations also commissioned paper icons as part of their fundraising efforts, with itinerant representatives from such monasteries distributing paper icons to the faithful living beyond the monasteries’ immediate regions in various former territories of the Byzantine Empire. Although the usual practice was not to charge a fee for these devotional images, as canon law forbade the sale of icons, the recipients of the paper images were encouraged to donate to the struggling foundations, and many of their icons came to decorate family homes and private shrines.[iii] 

Public and private collections in Greece and in the Slavic-speaking countries, where Byzantine Orthodox Christianity has long flourished, today preserve significant numbers of these paper icons. Despite this record of preservation, relatively little scholarly attention has been focused on understanding the iconography and fuller history of these devotional works of art. An exception to this general trend is the two volume corpus of Orthodox paper icons, published in both Greek and English in 1990 by Dory Papastratou, a self-trained scholar, and a lawyer by profession. Papastratou’s critical work, drawing in part upon her own significant collection of paper icons (donated in 1994 to the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki by her daughters), has laid the foundations for continuing research into this fascinating subject.  This essay is indebted to her pioneering work.[iv] 

In American collections, such Orthodox devotional works of art are particularly rare. This essay brings to light a superb and unpublished example from this printing tradition: the engraved copper plate, dated 1871, portraying the Virgin Galaktotrophousa or the Virgin “who nourishes with milk” in Virginia’s Madison Art Collection.[v]  Although a print was taken from the plate in 1980,[vi] after it entered the University’s collections, to date I am aware of no extant paper icons produced from this plate in its original ecclesiastical context.  Future research into the still largely unpublished numbers of Orthodox paper icons will possibly yield a match.


Composition and Artistic Style of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa on the Madison Plate

The plate (48.0 x 64.2 x 0.3 cm) is engraved in reverse using the intaglio process: during the printing process the plate’s incised copper surface, filled with ink, would have produced a mirror image of the icon on paper.[vii]  In the present publication, digital images of the plate (the negative image) are published alongside the print on paper (the positive), made in 1980. Unless noted, throughout the article I will discuss the positive form of the image, as it would have been seen in its final paper form.

In the Madison icon, Mary is represented at right in three-quarter view in a bust portrait, as she supports in her two arms the reclining body of the Christ Child at left.  Christ wears a plain tunic and patterned mantle, draped over his waist and legs, while his right foot is exposed from beneath the textile. Grasping with both hands the hem of Mary’s mantle, falling above her exposed right breast, Christ suckles in his mother’s close embrace; in Byzantine images, as here, the Virgin’s exposed breast is commonly represented in smaller than life-scale.  Two flying angels appear at the top of the composition. They place a pinnacled crown adorned with two flowers over the maphorion, or veil, covering the Virgin’s head. The inscriptions within the figural composition are the customary, brief labels in Greek accompanying the Mother of God and the Christ Child.   The inscribed medallions in the plate’s upper corners, supported by the angels’ outer hands, identify Mary as H MHTHR QEOU (“The Mother of God”),[viii] while the epithet GALAKTOTROFOUSA (“She who nourishes with milk”) appears just above the angels’ inner hands. Common monograms for Christ decorate his cruciform halo: IS XS O W N (Jesus Christ, “He who is”[ix]).  A diaper pattern fills the background behind the figures, and the entire figural composition is framed by a border with a repeat ribbon and diamond motif.  Additional inscriptions encircle the decorative frame and are discussed below.

The Virgin and Child are rendered in a revived “Italo-Gothic,” or early Italian Renaissance style, characterized by an overall naturalistic handling of anatomical form , elegant lines, and the careful delineation of light and shadow through stippling.  Rich textiles in dense floral patterns, inspired by Western European models, decorate the Virgin’s mantle and tunic, as well as the mantle enfolding the body of the suckling Christ child.  Mary’s crown, an attribute frequently accompanying Italian images of the Virgin since the Middle Ages, identifies her as the Queen of Heaven (Maria Regina).[x]

Under the influence of Italo-Cretan painters in the fourteenth and fifteenth, this Western European approach to rendering the Virgin’s image came to dominate later Orthodox icon painting of the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.  As one result of the style’s popularity, older Byzantine canons for representing Mary and the Christ Child were long overshadowed.[xi]  Paper icons printed on Mt. Athos throughout the nineteenth century faithfully replicate like images of the crowned Mary in this characteristic style, and Papastratou has noted the inherent challenge in locating undated examples in the early or later part of the nineteenth century.[xii]


Inscriptions Enframing the Galaktotrophousa Image

The icon of the Madison engraving plate is exceptional among surviving examples for the wealth of information its inscriptions provide, allowing us to more fully reconstruct the context in which this particular icon of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa was received by late nineteenth-century audiences.  The smallest inscription on the plate, and the only one written in a cursive script, was added at the final stage of production, squeezed into available space at the bottom-center of the copper panel outside the icon’s decorative frame. This Greek text names the press’ location, its prolific engraver, and the date of production:

(This icon) was printed on the Holy Mountain (Mt. Athos, Greece) by the hand of the

hieromonachos (priest-monk) Gabriel of Skopelos in 1871.


            )Exaluoxara/xqh   )En   (Agi/w  )/Orei di/a xeiro\j   (Ieromona/xou Gabri/hl Skopeli/ou

kata/ to 1871.


The subject of the printing location on Mt. Athos and the career of the artist Gabriel of Skopelos will be discussed further on in the conclusions of this paper.

In the spaces to the left and right of the artist’s signature at the bottom of the icon is a common invocation to the Virgin from the faithful, to be spoken by the suppliant standing before it.  The text is engraved in Greek (on the left of the icon) and Old Church Slavonic (on the right):


Most holy Mother of God, save us!


Greek, beginning at the bottom left corner



Old Church Slavonic, beginning at the bottom right corner:

Пресвятая Богородице, спаси нас.


Surrounding the icon’s decorative frame is a longer liturgical text which also directly addresses the Virgin.  This brief prayer was incorporated into a number of Orthodox rites, including the Artoklasia, or the blessing of bread, commonly performed during evening Vespers.[xiii]  On the icon, the prayer is written in parallel Greek and Old Church Slavonic, both executed in elegant uncial letters.

Mother of God, Virgin, rejoice Mary full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed (are) you     among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, for you have given birth to the Savior of our         souls.


Greek, beginning at the bottom left corner of the printed icon (the positive image), and ending at the top right corner:



Old Church Slavonic, beginning at the icon’s top right corner and ending at the bottom right             corner:

Б(огороди)це д(е)во, радуйся бл(а)г(ода)тная М(а)рие, Г(оспо)дь съ тобою, бл(а)г(осло)вена ты в женахъ и  бл(а)г(осло)венъ плодъ чрева твоего, яко Сп(а)са родила еси душъ нашихъ.[xiv]



The Greek version of the prayer occupies both a long and short side of the icon (the left and top sides), while the Slavonic is written in the tighter space of one long side (the right side). While clearly the icon and its texts were designed to appeal to both Greek- and Slavonic-speaking members of the faithful, the preeminence of the Greek inscription suggests that the Byzantine origins of both the Galaktotrophousa image and its accompanying verses are here being emphasized.

Directly addressing the Virgin (in parallel with the shorter invocation at the icon’s bottom), the selected lines from the prayer highlight Mary’s sanctity, her role as the Mother of God, and Christ’s future salvation of humankind. These themes underline traditional associations of both Christ’s Incarnation and Passion with the image of the nursing Virgin.  In exploring the image’s meaning and composition, Elizabeth Bolman’s pioneering research on the subject has found that the image remained a minor but persistent subject in Christian art since the Middle Ages, with the first significant body of images found in Late Antique Egypt; these and other western examples attest that the image type was widely known in both the east and west before the eighth-century Iconoclastic controversy.[xv] From the time of the fourth century, the Church Father St. John Chrysostom associated the suckling of Christ with the Incarnation, while the connection of the image to the Passion was made explicit by St. Clement of Alexandria, who drew a parallel between the Virgin’s milk and the blood of Christ.  The reclining pose of the Christ Child in his mother’s arms, often with one or both legs bare and crossed, also recalls images and associations with Mary’s Lamentation of the adult Christ after his death. [xvi]

Among the eight paper icons of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa from Mt. Athos in this same period published by Papastratou and by Adamopoulou and Tourta, the selection of this prayer is unattested.  Among these known examples, we see most often that the standard composition of Mother and Child with crowning angels is simply identified by the inscription “The Mother of God, the Virgin Galaktotrophousa.” Alternatively the Virgin’s epithet is paired with a selection from the Gospel of Luke: “Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that have suckled you.” (Luke 11.27) These words were spoken to the adult Christ during his Ministry by an anonymous woman among his followers.[xvii]  The prayer accompanying the Madison icon, as opposed to the passage from Luke’s Gospel, significantly shifts the focus of address from Christ to the Virgin, as the suppliant directly speaks to the Mother of God praising her.  In the context of Marian devotion, a widespread phenomenon since the Middle Ages, the fact that Mary is addressed is not surprising. But what makes the Madison icon all the more interesting is the way in which the prayer guides the viewer’s response, suggesting words in which to address the subject of the icon.


Mt. Athos as a Center for Orthodox Printing

            The engraving of the Madison printing plate on the “Holy Mountain” by Gabriel of Skopelos in 1871 is of importance for our understanding of its place in the history of Orthodox printing and spirituality during the final decades of the nineteenth century. The “Holy Mountain,” or Mt. Athos, is a leading center of Orthodox spirituality located on the northernmost projection of the Chalkidiki peninsula, which juts into the northern Aegean Sea east of the city of Thessaloniki. This mountainous territory was first extensively settled in the late tenth century by Byzantine male monastics and today remains an active center of male monasticism.[xviii]

Athos’ identification as the plate’s locus of production and printing corresponds well with its important place in the printing of devotional images on paper during the middle and later decades of the nineteenth century. Mt. Athos did not assume a prominent place in the printing of paper icons before the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829), due to Ottoman restrictions on printing presses in Christian hands.  Thus limited numbers of paper icons were printed on Mt. Athos before c. 1830.  Instead European engravers and printing presses in centers such as Venice and Vienna were commissioned by Orthodox patrons to produce devotional images on paper for circulation to the faithful.  This printing activity coincided with the active production of Orthodox books in these same Western European centers. With the independence of parts of Greece from the Ottoman empire in c. 1832 and the establishment of a new Greek capital in Athens, there came a loosening of Ottoman control over their western territories, including Macedonia and Thrace. At this time in Macedonia, Mt. Athos experienced a resurgence in the printing of devotional images on paper.[xix]

Four engraving workshops are attested during the late eighteenth and nineteenth century at the settlement of Karyes, which served since the Middle Ages as administrative and commercial capital for the twenty Athonite monasteries. These printing workshops were located in the Karyes kellia (“cells,” or monastic dependencies) of St. John the Baptist, of the Monastery of Mt. Iviron; Prophet Elias, of the Monastery of Koutloumousi; the Archangels, of the Monastery of the Great Lavra; and the Archangels, of the Monastery of Hilandar.[xx]  The four printing presses would have operated within a very short distance from one another, in this, the center of craft-making and artistic production, as well as trade between the monasteries and lay merchants.[xxi] Certainly engravers here would have been familiar with one another’s work and local traditions, allowing for a ready exchange of ideas and forms in the artistic center of Karyes.

The workshop of the Serbian monastery of Hilandar in Karyes can be suggested as the most likely source for the engraving of the Madison printing plate, for according to tradition, at least by the modern period, this monastery is said to have had a special devotion to the lactating Virgin.  By this late date, tradition recorded that one of the monastery’s twelfth-century restorers, the Serbian prince Sava (later St. Sava), venerated an icon of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa during a pilgrimage to the Lavra of St. Savas in Palestine, where the original was said to have been kept. Also by the nineteenth century, at Karyes, a miracle-working icon of the nursing Virgin (presumably one painted on wooden panel) is recorded to have been housed in the Hilandar’s kellion, offering a ready model for the engraving of such plates for printing paper icons.[xxii] Either the same or another miracle-working version of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa was kept in the main monastery of Hilandar by the mid-twentieth century, as noted by Simonpetritis.  This image was regarded in this period as one of Hilandar’s four famed icons of the Virgin.[xxiii]  The presence of this miraculous image at Hilandar, I believe, is the most compelling piece of evidence to suggest that the Madison plate commemorates this foundation’s revered icon.

Dinko Davidov has found that eighty-five copper plates, collected from the central monastery and from its immediate dependencies on Mt. Athos, survived at Hilandar into the second half of the twentieth century. The author further attests that several hundred copper-plates in total are preserved among the monasteries on Mt. Athos, although the majority of these are unknown to the scholarly community at large.[xxiv] These remarkable numbers contrast sharply with the holdings of copper printing-plates in public and private collections outside of Athos, and underline the importance of Athos’ still largely unpublished collections to our further understanding of the history of paper icons and Orthodox printing.

The use of parallel Greek and Slavonic inscriptions can now be evaluated in light of a possible attribution to the Hilandar workshop at Karyes.  Papastratou has presented ample evidence that significant numbers of Athonite paper icons of the period are inscribed in parallel Greek and Slavonic, suggesting the wide appeal of many devotional images printed on Mt. Athos and their distribution throughout the Orthodox Christian world. However, if an attribution to the monastery of Hilandar is correct, then the parallel Greek and Old Church Slavonic inscriptions on the Madison plate would complement nicely the audience to whom Hilandar’s paper icons were primarily addressed: Slavonic-speaking and -reading Orthodox Christians in Serbia, whose financial support was solicited to maintain the Serbian Monastery of Hilandar on Mt. Athos.

After the creation of the Madison Plate in 1871, possibly in the Hilandar workshop at Karyes, it is not known how or when it left Mt. Athos.  John A. Sawhill, a Professor of Classics and German at James Madison University, purchased the plate at an unknown date. John’s second wife, Bessie Sawhill, also a university faculty member in Classical Studies and English, may have helped in the acquisition. It is not known if the Madison plate was sold by a dealer in the United States,[xxv] or if it was acquired during John Sawhill’s travels in the Mediterranean and Near East (possibly with Bessie, before her death in 1970).  During their marriage the couple collected widely, with purchases ranging from ancient art (especially numismatics) to contemporary; their collection includes a significant number of Post-Byzantine icons painted on wooden panel, both from the Russian and Greek traditions.[xxvi]  It is unlikely that John Sawhill made an independent visit to the male enclave of Mt. Athos to acquire the Madison printing plate.  More likely is the possibility that the plate left Mt. Athos at some time after 1871 and was brought to another location, where Sawhill acquired it.  In 1976, upon his death, James Madison University received the Sawhill collection as a bequest. These art works today form the core of the Madison Art Collection.[xxvii]


The Engraver: The Priest-Monk Gabriel of Skopelos (active 1871-1887)

            The precise route traveled by the Madison printing plate from Mt. Athos to Virginia is as obscure as the journey traveled by its engraver: from his birthplace on the island of Skopelos, in the Northern Sporades (south of Mt. Athos) to the Holy Mountain, and then from the Holy Mountain to the island of Hydra in the Saronic Gulf (south of Athens), where the majority of his career seems to have been spent.  His profession as a hieromonk, or priest-monk, was common for engravers of paper icons in this period.  From his signed prints, Gabriel of Skopelos is known to have been active from 1871-1887. During his sixteen year career of producing sacred engravings, Gabriel appears to have worked in two very different styles, corresponding to his short stint on Mt. Athos (active at least by 1871), and his later period of activity on Hydra (by 1877-1887).  While to date I know of no monographic study for the artist, at least seven engraved icons with his signature can be identified: the Madison icon (Mt. Athos, 1871), St. Demetrios (Mt. Athos, 1871), St. Constantine of Hydra (Hydra, 1877), The Annunciation to the Virgin (Hydra, 1878), The Virgin’s Dormition (Hydra, 1878), and The Annunciation to the Virgin (Hydra, 1887).  Two prints with the signature of Gabriel of Skopelos which do not specify their location of printing are consonant with his style during the Hydra period: St. Spyridion (1878), and the Virgin Myrtidiotissa of Kythera (1879).[xxviii]

            As noted by Papastratou, while working on Mt. Athos the engraver was faithful to the elegant Italo-Gothic style seen in the Madison icon, while his engravings from Hydra are characterized by thicker lines, a greater simplicity of design, a characteristic oval composition as the main compositional field accompanied by scroll-like corner designs, and a signature distinct from his Athonite period. What then is remarkable about Gabriel’s apparent change in style is that his early works appear to be more elegant while his later engravings less refined. One would expect to see increasing skill and accomplishment over the course of an artist’s career, rather than evidence to the contrary.  This apparent contradiction in style can perhaps be best explained by the long-standing traditions of engraving and printing on Mt. Athos from the 1830’s until Gabriel’s career there in the early 1870’s, as well as the advanced printing tools clearly available in the Karyes workshops. We can imagine that at the start of his career, Gabriel went to train with engraving masters on Mt. Athos, and after some period of apprenticeship he left for Hydra to continue his work, where there was no parallel printing tradition and inferior technology.

            As the most accomplished work of the engraver, the Madison Art Collection’s printing plate today ranks as one of the masterpieces of Athonite engraving from the late nineteenth century.  Its unique pairing of text and image highlights the special intercessory character of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa, placing it among the most sophisticated icons of Modern Orthodoxy.



I am dedicating this study with my greatest affection to Dr. Angela Hero, Professor Emerita of Byzantine History at Queens College.  She has been an inspiring mentor and a dear friend, and for both I am extremely grateful.


For their encouragement to first pursue research on this fascinating work of Post-Byzantine art, as well as their generous and thoughtful contributions to this essay, I wish to thank Kate Stevens, Director of the Madison Art Collection, and Kay Arthur, Curator for Medieval and Renaissance Art, the Madison Art Collection. My sincere thanks are also extended to additional readers, whose invaluable comments have improved the form and content of this essay. They include Jennifer Ball, Edmund Ryder, Rangsook Yoon, and Warren Woodfin. Finally I wish to thank Vasileios Marinis for the invitation to contribute to the present volume and for his editing of the text.


[i] Dina Adamopoulou and Anastasia Tourta, eds., “Paper Icons” from the Dory Papastratos Collection (Temporary Exhibition, Historical Archives, the Museum of Hydra, 9 July – 31 October 2005) Thessaloniki, 2005, p. 12.


[ii] Dory Papastratou, Paper Icons: Greek Orthodox Religious Engravings, 1665-1899, Athens and Recklinghausen, 1990 (Original publication in Greek; English translation by John Leatham) pp. 337-385; 531-543.


[iii] Papastratou, Paper Icons, p. 18; Adamopoulou and Tourta, “Paper Icons” from the Dory Papastratos Collection, Preface.


[iv] Papastratou, Paper Icons; Adamopoulou and Tourta, “Paper Icons” from the Dory Papastratos Collection, p. 6.


[v] The work, unpublished to date, is part of the Madison Art Collection, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia (MAC 76.1.0917). In the Fall 2003, Carly Halayko undertook the first research on the plate, as a student at James Madison University enrolled in Dr. Kay Arthur’s course, “Early Christian Art.”  Halayko’s study produced the first readings of the liturgical inscriptions in Old Church Slavonic and Greek on the printing plate.


[vi] I am grateful to Jack McCaslin, Professor of Printmaking in the School of Art and Art History at James Madison University, for sharing his digital photography of the 1980 print which he made, and for extensively discussing this art work with me.


[vii] Chrysanthos Christou, Modern Greek Engraving, Athens, 1994, pp. 13-14.

[viii] Interestingly, the medallion on the icon’s right side is rendered with the Greek letters in relief and the background printed in black; this is the opposite effect from that achieved in the left medallion.  It may reflect the artist’s attempt to correct accidental damage to the plate, or an error in the planning stages of work, or in the engraving process itself.


[ix] This epithet for Christ renders in Greek the Hebrew name of God, thus identifying Christ the Logos with the God who speaks in the Old Testament.


[x] On the Virgin as Queen of Heaven with crown, see: Ursula Nilgen, “Maria Regina-Ein politischer Kultbildtypus,” Römisches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte  (19/1981) pp. 3-33; and Valentino Pace, “Between East and West,” Mother of God. Representations of the Virgin in Byzantine Art, ed. Maria Vassilaki, Athens, 2000, pp. 425-452, cf. pls. 214, 216, 220, 221.


[xi] On the rise of an Italo-Cretan style, see for example: Angeliki Lymberopoulou, “The Painter Angelos and Post

 Byzantine Art,” Locating Renaissance Art Vol. 2, ed. Carol M. Richardson, New Haven, 2007, pp. 175-212.


[xii] Papastratou, Paper Icons, p. 18.


[xiii] On the Artoklasia: Orthodox Eastern Church, Hieratikon: hai theiai leitourgiai Iōannou tou Chrysostomou, Vasileiou tou Megalou, kai tōn proēgiasmenōn meta tēs typikēs autōn diataxeōs kai tinōn aparaitētōn hierōn akolouthiōn taxeōn kai euchōn. Third Edition, Athens, 1987, pp. 21-25, cf. p. 24.


[xiv] I am grateful to Dr. Georgi Parpulov for his reading of the Old Church Slavonic inscription.


[xv] Chryssanthi Baltoyanni, “The Mother of God in Portable Icons,” Mother of God. Representations of the Virgin in Byzantine Art, ed. Maria Vassilaki, Athens, 2000, pp. 138-153, cf. pp. 141-144.


[xvi] Elizabeth Bolman, “The Enigmatic Coptic Galaktotrophousa and the Cult of the Virgin Mary in

Egypt,” in: Maria Vassilaki, ed., Images of the Mother of God. Perceptions of the Theotokos in Byzantium, London, 2005, pp. 13-22. Dr. Bolman is currently preparing for publication as a monograph the revised version of her doctoral dissertation: “Coptic Galaktotrophousa as the medicine of immortality,” Thesis (Ph.D.), Bryn Mawr College, 1997; this monograph (currently in preparation) is planned for publication in the University of Pennsylvania’s Divinations series. On the parallel development of the Virgin Galaktotrophousa image in east and west see: Anthony Cutler, “The Cult of the Galaktotrophousa in Byzantium and Italy,” Jahrbuch der Osterreichischen Byzantinistik 37/1987, pp. 336-351.


[xvii] Papastratou, Paper Icons, cat. nos. 83-89; Adamopoulou and Tourta, “Paper Icons” from the Dory Papastratos Collection, cat. no. 1.


[xviii] On Mount Athos during the Byzantine period, see: Anthony Cutler, “Athos, Mount,” Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, New York, 1991, Vol. I pp. 224-227.


[xix] Papastratou, Paper Icons, pp. 29-31; and Graham Speake, Mount Athos. Renewal in Paradise, New Haven, 2002, p. 145-146; and 156. On account of the support offered by the newly independent Greek state, after 1830 the monasteries’ fortunes began to recover with remarkable speed. The peninsula did not gain independence from the Ottoman empire until November 15, 1912.


[xx]  Papastratou, Paper Icons, pp. 27-31; Christou, Modern Greek Engraving, p. 17.


[xxi] Athonite printing was, with one exception, limited to the production of engraved images on single sheets of paper; the printing of books was not widely practiced on Mt. Athos.


[xxiii] Adamopoulou and Tourta, “Paper Icons” from the Dory Papastratos Collection, p. 16; Andrew Simonpetritis, Holy Mountain. Bulwark of Orthodoxy and of the Greek Nation, Thessaloniki, 1969, p. 60.  Simonpetritis notes three additional miraculous icons of the Virgin at Hilandar in the late 20th century: the Virgin tricherousa (“with three hands”); the Virgin papthiki (“priestly”); and the Virgin akathistou  “not sitting down”.)


[xxiv] Dinko Davidov, “Chartines Eikones in Hilandar,” pp. 319-330, cf. p. 322-323, in Gojko Subotic, Hilandar Monastery, Belgrade 1998; Dinko Davidov, Hilandar Graphics (Hilandarska grafika) Belgrade, 1990.


[xxv] For example, surviving correspondence documents that John Sawhill acquired portions of his collection from the Park-Bernet Auction House, including in 1971.  .


[xxvi] The majority of Sawhill’s Post-Byzantine icons were purchased from Park-Bernet.


[xxvii] I wish to thank Kate Stevens for sharing with me her wealth of knowledge on the Sawhill’s collecting habits, and the history of the formation of the Madison Art Collection.


[xxviii] PAGES TO COME: Papastratou, Paper Icons, pp.__________.