THE VIRGIN LYCNIA IN ART AND HYMNOLOGY
In the composition “Prophets have announced you” in the narthex of the Volcano church in the Peloponnesus, two Moschos brothers painted the image of the Virgin Lychnia with a seven-branch candelabrum as one of her Old Testament prefigurations. A candlestick with seven branches of pure gold is referred to in Exodus 25 : 31-40; as a symbol of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Book of Revelation 4 : 5; and with a glass and seven lamps in Zechariah 4 : 2-3. The seven-branched candelabrum has a long history in art and may be traced back to the wall-painting of Dura Europos or to an illumination in Cosmas Indicopleustes’ Christian Topography. In liturgical poetry and hymnology, inexhaustible source for understanding the image of the Virgin as Lychnia, she is described as Maria Illuminatrix. Like God’s temple and God’s lamp, the Virgin Lychnia symbolizes the light of the whole world spreading like the triple light of three holy suns and reflecting the glory of God before the creation of the world.