The church of Panagia is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range. According to the dedicatory inscription on the north wall of the Holy Bema, the church was built and decorated with frescoes in 1280, with the donation of Ioannis of Moutoullas and his wife Irene. Both of them are depicted holding a model of the church. It is therefore possible, that the Church of Panagia tou Moutoulla was a private chapel. The church belongs to the well-known architectural type of the single-aisled, steep-pitched timber roof of the Troodos region. The narthex was added at a later stage, after the beginning of the 16th century, and it extends to the west and north sides the church. The timber roof also covers the narthex.
As far as the mural decoration of the church is concerned, it is worth noting that it is the only series of wall-paintings of the thirteenth century (1280) which survive in Cyprus that can be dated with precision. Due to the small size of the church, the iconographic programme was reduced accordingly. It must be noted that the donors are faithful to the orthodox tradition, without ignoring their contemporary world, a fact that becomes obvious when one notices the repertoire. It is in any case a remarkable set of wall paintings.
Both the style and the iconographic programme of the painter are of great interest. His style is a mixture of older 12th century Byzantine characteristics, with elements from his contemporary western art. He also uses elements from the painting developed in the crusader lands of the East, in Cappadocia, Crete and generally in remote Greek lands. Some of these characteristics can also be seen in Apulian hermitages and the Calabrian churches of South Italy. The exterior of the north wall of the church was decorated at the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century with a scene from the Last Judgement.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.