Stanković, Nebojša

University of Belgrade

Research Title: Narthexes of Middle Byzantine Monastic Churches in Constantinople, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Mount Athos: Architecture and Function within the Stoudite Monasticism

Dr. Stanković's research focused on the narthex of Middle Byzantine (9th–12th C.) monastic churches. The narthex’s regular presence and the considerable uniformity of its plan and form suggest that the feature was deemed well-suited for the liturgical and spiritual requirements of coenobitic communities. The study is conceived as an examination of both architecture and written sources, aimed at exploring similarities and differences in the form and function of the narthex between several important monastic centers of the time and within the Stoudite monastic tradition. It is expected that this particular part of the church building preserves architectural embodiments of certain liturgical and other customs characteristic for the main-stream monastic organization of the period. The project explores to what extent function shaped the spatial organization and architectural form, as well as if the organization and form in turn influenced the way services were performed. Furthermore, this study is hoped to help in tracing the mechanisms operating in the transmission of certain architectural forms and spatial habits, but also why some distinct divergences and idiosyncratic developments occurred.