Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published by the Sophia Centre Press in partnership with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, Faculty of Humanitiies and the Performing Arts, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

We are currently seeking submissions for future volumes of Culture and Cosmos.

Volume 21

An Examination of the Images of the Sun and the Moon in the Visoki Dečani Monastery in Kosovo

Dragana Van de Moortel-Ilič


This paper investigates the celestial-religious images in the Visoki Dečani monastery in Kosovo, particularly the tear-shaped paintings with human figures inside located on the left and right side of The Crucifixion of Christ fresco. The aim of this research is to put these images into a cultural and contemporary cosmological context. The images in the fresco that contain human figures have been the subject of controversy in the second part of the last century. A highly speculative popular view was put forward, that the images portrayed extra-terrestrials in UFOs. Yet these images have been mostly ignored in academic circles. In this research the images from The Crucifixion fresco were compared with similar frescoes from other Serbian medieval churches and with the philosophical thought of the time. The methodology used was, first, a personal visit and observation of the images, including photos taken by a professional photographer. A comparison of those findings was then made with what had been written about those images in the academic literature. The conclusion is that they present personifications of the Sun and the Moon which could be explained by the synergy of Hellenistic and Christian thought.

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