Photographs by: Konstantinos Chatziantoniou.

forthcoming: Luba Dovgan Nurse, Mary M. Brooks and Dinah Eastop Authenticity in the revival of Orthodox ecclesiastical embroidery in post-Soviet Russia, accepted for  ‘The Real Thing?’: The Value of Authenticity and Replication for Investigation and Conservation’ conference at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, 6-7 December, 2012.

I just found this new great source of images of Orthodox ecclesiastical embroidery, it offers selection by date, origin, workshop, language of inscription, created by the St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University in St. Petersburg. 

In Russia ecclesiastical embroidery was undermined during the Soviet period, it revival began in the late 1980s and is ongoing. Traditionally it is done by women unlike that for example in England (Opus Anglicanum) or in Greece (Greek Orthodox Church).


Greek Orthodox Ecclesiastical Embroidery with particular references to men embroiderers – kindly provided by Konstantinos Chatziantoniou.

  • Chatziamichali Aggeliki, 1956. Τα χρυσοκλαβαρικά, Συρμακέσικα, κεντήματα (The Chrysoklavarika, Syrmakesika, embroideries) Melanges Merlier.vol.2, Athens. p447.
  • Moni Arkadiou in Crete is famous for its monks who were embroidering almost exclusively their needs on vestments, and actually of the highest level.
  • VLACHOPOULOU-KARABINA, ELENI. 2010. Εκκλησιαστικά Χρυσοκέντητα Άμφια Βυζαντινού Τύπου Στον Ελλαδικό Χώρο (16ος-19ος αι.) Το Εργαστήριο της Μονής Βαρλαάμ Μετεώρων (Ecclesiastical Goldthread Embroidered Vestments of Byzantine type in the Greek Territory (16th-19th c). The Workshop of Varlaam Monastery in Meteora). Batsioulas:Athens. esp.34-46pp.
  • THEOCHARI MARIA. 1986. Εκκλησιαστικά Χρυσοκέντητα (Ecclesiastical Embroideries). Αποστολική Διακονία της Εκκλησίας της Ελλάδος: Αθήνα.
  • POPI ZORA.1994. Λαϊκή Τέχνη (Folk Art). in “Elliniki Techni“. Athens. p23. mentions that the technicians called ‘Syrmakesides’ (from the word syrma=wire) were embroidering not only secular but also ecclesiastical textiles.

Short Bibliography (Russian resources are not transliterated):

On the conflict between state museums and Russian Orthodox Church, Word and Deed
Vremya Novostey No. 220, 1 December 2010 Vremya Publishing House, interview with Director of the State Hermitage, Mikhail PIOTROVSKY 

BELTING, H. 1990 Likeness and Presence. A History of the Image before the Era of Art. (tr. E. Jephcott). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

BELTING, H. 1980-1981. An Image and Its Function in the Liturgy: The Man of Sorrows in Byzantium. Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 34, 1-16.

BUTLER, A. 1979. The Batsford Encyclopaedia of Embroidery Stitches London: B T Batsford Ltd.

DAWSON, B. 1982. The Technique of Metal Thread Embroidery, London: B T Bratsford Ltd.

DREGER, M.1904. Künstlerische Entwicklung der europäischen Weberei und Stickerei. Vienna: publisher unknown.

FEHNER, M. 1993. Древнерусское золотное шитье 10-13 vv. В Собрании Государственного Исторического Музея Средневековье Древности Восточной Европы, Труды ГИМ, 82. (Old Russian gold thread embroidery 10-13 centuries, State History Museum, Moscow: Gosudarstvenny Istorichesky Muzei.

FLORENSKY, P. 1967. Обратная перспектива (Reversed perspective, in Russian]. In: Труды по знаковым системам, 3. Tartu: Tartu University, 117-192.

GEORGIEVSKY, V. 1914. Древнерусское шитье Троице Сергиевой Лавры (Old Russian embroidery in the Vestry of St. Sergius Holy Trinity Lavra, in Russian]. Svetilnik., 11-12.

HILLWOOD Museum and Galleries [Online].

HOBSBAWN, E. & T. RANGERS. 1983. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

KACHANOVA I. M. 2003 Выступление кандидата культурологии, реставратора высшей категории по тканям Ирины Михайловны Качановой на ученом Совете Музеев Московского Кремля 31 марта 2003 года

KATASONOVA, E. 2005. Золотное шитье домонгольской Руси [Gold thread embroidery in Russia of pre-Mongolian period, in Russian]. Journal Oubrus History and Modernity, 4, 24-45.

LEMON, J. 2002. Metal Thread Embroidery. London: B.T. Batsford.

LIDOV, A. 2003. Eastern Christian Relics. Moscow: Progress-Traditsia.

MAYASOVA, N. 1979. Древнерусская живопись иглой [Old Russian painting by needle, in Russian]. Moscow: Moskovsky Rabochi.

MAYASOVA, N. 1995. Древнерусское художественное шитье [Old Russian pictorial embroidery, in Russian]. Moscow: publisher unknown.

MAYASOVA, N. 1996. Одна из последних русских светлиц [One of the last Russian embroidery workshops, in Russian]. Moscow: Pamyatniki Kultiry. Novyie Otkrytiya.

MAYASOVA, N. 2004. Древнерусское лицевое шитье [Old Russian pictorial embroidery, in Russian]. Moscow: Krasnaya Ploshad.

MAYASOVA, N. 2005 (1995). К истории изучения древнерусского лицевого шитья [Towards the study of Russian pictorial embroidery, in Russian]. Journal Oubrus History and Modernity, 4, 2-6.

MEYENDORFF, J. 1982. The Byzantine Legacy in the Orthodox Church. New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.

MILLET, G. 1947. Broderies Religieuses de Style Byzantin. Paris: publisher unknown.

NOVITSKAYA, M. 1970. Давньоруське гаптування з фiгурними зоображеннями / [Old Russian embroideries with pictorial images, in Ukrainian]. In Археологiя, XXIV, Kiev: publisher unknown, 88-98.

NOVITSKAYA, M. 1972. Золотная вышивка киевской Руси [Golden embroidery of Kiev Rus, in Russian]. Byzantinoslavica, 33, 42-50.

OUSPENSKY, L. & V. LOSSKY. 1982. The Meaning of Icons (trs. Palmer G. & E.Kadloubovsky). New York: St. Vladimir’s seminary press.

UBRUS, workshop of ecclesiastical embroidery under the patronage of the Ouspensky podvorie (metochion) of The Priory of Optina Pustyn Monastery, St. Petersburg, Russia,

PARKER, R. 1996. The Subversive Stitch Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine.  London: The Women’s Press Ltd.

SEMECHKIN, P. A. 2011. ‘Workshop for the repair of antique needlework’: on the history of the decorative arts section of the central state restoration workshops, 1919-1934. in Brooks M. and D. Eastop. Changing Views of Textile Conservation. Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 19-30.