Church of St. Panteleimon (Nerezi)
Image by MLazarevski
The Church of St. Panteleimon in Gorno Nerezi, Republic of Macedonia, is a small 12th century Byzantine church located in a monastery complex. The church and monastery are dedicated to St. Panteleimon, the patron saint of physicians.
The church was constructed in 1164 as a foundation of Alexius Angelus Comnenus, a son of Constantine Angelos and Theodora Komnene, a daughter of Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos.
The church has a domed cruciform core, three apses and a rectangular narthex. It is built of irregular stone blocks and brick embedded in thick layers of mortar. The surrounding monastery complex is enclosed by walls.
The frescoes in the church are famous examples of Comnenian Age Byzantine Art, depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ and various hagiographical illustrations. Similar compositions appear in the Latomou Monastery in Thessaloniki. The church was damaged by an earthquake in the 16th century. In the restoration that followed, some of the frescoes in the upper middle region have been repainted. The original marble iconostasis survived the earthquake, but lost its decorative plastic art.
In another restoration attempt in 1885, the larger part of the frescoes in the naos were painted over rather ineptly. During cleaning in 1923, some of the original 12th century frescoes were restored.
The coloring, dramatic composition and purity of expression displayed in the frescoes are outstanding examples of Macedonian medieval monumental painting in the later 12th century.
The church’s stucco decoration is depicted on the obverse of the Macedonian 50 denars banknote, issued in 1996