The aim of this paper is to consider the architectural embodiment of practicing the seclusion by the stylites of the middle Byzantine period, both in Byzantium and ancient Rus’.
Both historical and architectural evidence work for the probability of the seclusion in the monastic church proper, and the hypothesis is valid for both Constantinople and the Byzantine provinces, as well for the countries of the Byzantine Commonwealth. The specifics of the development of the monastic movement in the middle Byzantine period, when different forms of monasticism were blending with each other, caused the existence of the phenomenon of the secluded hegoumenos. Maintaining the practice of seclusion led to a higher authority and religious status of an hegoumenos, which received its architectural embodiment by the introduction of the cell of a recluse into the church proper. So, in the middle Byzantine times the “imitation of wilderness” was possible not only for the monastic cities on the “holy mountains”, but also for the monks of Constantinople.
Thus some important hints may be made concerning not only how an hegoumenos could manage a mon-astery being a recluse in Byzantium or ancient Rus’, but also what function the corner chambers of the third story of Kalenderhane Camii and the “interstory” chambers of Gül Camii were designed for.
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