Anastasis (Resurrection)

Anastasis (Resurrection). 14th century.  Byzantine fresco from Saint-Saviour-in-Chora

Anastasis / Resurrection. 14th century, Byzantine fresco. Saint-Saviour-in-Chora, Istanbul.

This mosaic is in the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora—now the Chora Museum—in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally built as part of a monastery complex in the fifth century, it has been rebuilt and restored several times. Located at the edge of Constantinople near the Land Wall of Emperor Theodosius, the church gained significance due to its proximity to the main imperial residence.

The Church has one of the finest and most extensive cycles of Later Byzantine mosaic and fresco decoration recounting the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ. The frescoes are divided into scenes from the Old and New Testaments. The dramatic scene of the Anastasis, or resurrection, is in a side chapel designed as a mortuary chapel. The Anastasis, based on the apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus, was the standard Byzantine representation of Christ’s resurrection: Christ striding boldly, clad in radiant white, pulling Adam and Eve from their sarcophagi. Beneath his feet, Satan lies bound and gagged, and the gates of hell are scattered about.