Search graduate:

    Lea Tall

  • Cultural Heritage and Conservation
  • BA
  • EAÕK Lelle kiriku Kristuse surikuju konserveerimine ja säilitamine kirikutingimustes
  • Tutor: Theodora Kormpaki (MA), Merike Kallas (MA)

Conservation and preservation of Epitaphios of Christ from EOC Lelle church

The aim of this work is the conservation of an orthodox church textile made of combined materials- Lelle church Epitaphios and resolving the issues of its preservation and storage. This work shows an exciting and important, yet complicated part of the rich and diverse heritage of the Estonian Orthodox Church, from a conservator’s viewpoint.

Lelle church´s Epitaphios of Christ is a horizontal textile icon, which depicts Christ lying in a grave. The canvas painting is surrounded by a textile edge decorated with copper threads, embroidery and fringes.

EAÕK Lelle kiriku Kristuse surikuju peale konserveerimist (Photo A. Uueni)

This work contains an overview of the use, development, techniques and iconography of Epitaphios and a brief introduction to EOC Lelle church and auxiliary congregation. It describes materials of church textile, their condition and investigation. It also describes conservation choices in a situation where, due to a lining attached with several rows of nails, the interior of the item is inaccessible, a canvas painting is used in an unusual position and a gospel book is placed on it during services. For this, the textile and combined materials’ conservators from Estonian Open Air Museum conservation department were consulted. The main emphasis is on the conservation of the textile part of Epitaphios, which requires great precision, patience and understanding the nature of the work to the level of threads and fibres. An overview of conservation works of the painting part is also given.

 How to ensure better conditions for the Epitaphios in the small rural Lelle church, where services are only held a few times a year? The customs of storing Epitaphia a in church were surveyed through questionnaires filled by the EOC clergy and specialist of church textiles and were explain of suitable storage conditions for this sacred object made of combined materials were given. Taking into account the damp conditions in the church, suitable additional materials for preservation aids were found.

Through the whole process it was important to pay attention to the venerable function of the church textile and take into account the danger of often hard to notice brittleness of historic textile and sometimes contradictory needs of different materials.