Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Liakos, Dimitri

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

School of Art


Art; Byzantine--History; Light in art--History; Mysticism in art--History; Imagery (Psychology) in art--History


Within the context of Eastern Orthodox spirituality, light takes on the meaning of ellampsis and refers to the act of illumination by God or the process of illumination within an individual person. Illumination can occur through the contemplation of holy images, and it is for this reason that iconography plays such an important role in the life of the Orthodox believer. Over the centuries hagiographers have had at their disposal various methods for achieving illumination in their paintings and mosaics. However, throughout this time, philosophers and theologians have had a significant impact on the manner in which this mystical light is conveyed. It is the intent of this thesis to look at the spiritual and theological implications of mystical light as well as the influence which Plato, Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius, and Saint Gregory Palamas had upon five specific images from the sixth to the fourteenth centuries. These include the pre-iconoclastic apse mosaic of the Transfiguration from the monastery church of Saint Catherine on Mt. Sinai, a 1000 A.D. mosaic of the Anastasis from the monastery church of Hosios Loukas in Boetia, twelfth-century Anastasis and Transfiguration images from the monastery church of Daphni in Greece, and the fourteenth apse mosaic of the Anastasis in the parecclesion of the Church of Chora, Constantinople.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [87]-90)


viii, 90 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type