Eulogies with Saint Menas

Eulogies were clay or metal flasks in which the faithful brought Holy Oil or Holy Water back with them from places of pilgrimage. Pilgrimages were a common practice among Christians. These sacred journeys provided the occasion for people to travel around the Mediterranean, singly or in organised groups, to worship in the Holy Land or pray at sites sacred to particular saints. When the faithful returned to their homes, they took eulogies of this sort back with them as souvenirs of their journey. The eulogies in the Museum’s collection are from the site of the Martyrdom of St. Minas in Egypt (Abu Mina), which was one of the most important pilgrimage centres in the region. They have the same decoration on both faces: within a circular frame, Saint Minas stands frontal and orans between two kneeling camels, his head flanked by a pair of crosses. Eulogies of Saint Minas have been found all over the Mediterranean basin, attesting to the popularity of the pilgrimage throughout the region.

Skampavias K. 2007. Catalogue no. 2- 4, in Skampavias K.—Chatzidakis N. (eds), Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum.Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art, Athens 2007, 18.