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Byzantine Cave Churches I
This painting depicts Jesus Christ on the Cross
Christianity expanded into Cappadocia (in what is now central Turkey) during the first century A.D.   More than
six hundred churches and chapels have been found carved into the volcanic lava rock.  Most are small
chapel-like rooms with Christian themes painted on the walls, ceilings and columns.

In the eighth century A.D., icons became a passion among Christians within the Byzantine Empire.  Jesus Christ
was depicted in various forms in such exaggerations that they were considered disrespectful.  The Byzantine
Emperor Constantine V. ended this situation by prohibiting the use of icons.  In 843 A.D. the Empress
Theodora permitted icons to be used again.  She rebuilt and repaired many old churches within the Empire.   
The painted frescoes in the cave churches of Cappadocia are of two types.  Some have only symbolic paintings
to convey the Christian message.  Others have paintings representing biblical themes and personalities and use
human figures.  Among the latter type, the most beautiful and artistic are from the eleventh century.  
Part of our group enter a cave church
Some churches have elaborate themes with many Biblical accounts represented
This dome is among the finest representations of Byzantine art.