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The central door of the Holy Bema, called the Beautiful Gate in Greek, was naturally a very important element of the iconostasis and its evolution. Since the eleventh century, the Annunciation is the typical theme portrayed on this door. This was inspired by hymns praising the Mother of God that name her the Gate of Heaven.

In this bema door, from the Chapel of the Holy Five Martyrs, a slender Virgin stands before a throne, facing the Archangel, bearing the salutation “the fountainhead of our salvation”. The painting of the fabric folds reveals that the Sinai artist reproduced, somewhat hesitantly but accurately, an older bema door, most probably that of the Lower Chapel of the Panagia in Sinai, which dates to 1200.


Details

Tempera on wood
Fifteenth century
Left door-leaf 119,5 Χ 34 cm Right door-leaf 119,5 Χ 32,5 cm
Bema door
St. Catherine's Monastery Saint Catherine, South Sinai Governorate