A variety of subjects were painted in the nave of the monastery church.


Beautifully rendered image of an angel.



Christ baptisized by John the Baptist with the Holy Spirit represented as a dove.


Panel that is interpreted as Jesus at age 12 when stayed behind in Jerusalem after Feast of Passover. Mary, Joseph, and other family members (Salome, Cophas, Elizabeth, or Zechariah?)








Saint on horseback with Crusader-like banner. Dodd (2001:51) argues that the figure is Saint Bacchos. My first impression was that banner and horseman was an artistic fusion of Byzantine and Crusader horsemen.







St. Symeon Stylites (ca. 390 - 459) on top of his column.







Seated gospel writer with star of the East (often called Assuri star), inkwell, and ruled parchment. The star may be a portray of the star of Bethlehem described in Matthew 2:1- 12. The damaged area around the head of the figure is an attempt by art thieves to steal the painting. A damaged Syriac inscription, just behind the Apostle's head, gives his name as Saint Mark. The scrolls descending from heaven contains a Syriac inscription (translated by MccCullough and cited in Dodd 2001:150) that reads "The beginning of the Gospel. of Jesus the Messiah. the Son of God As. it is writtin in Isiah. the prophet"







Details of the parchment, inkwell, and star.







Frescoe of the Saint Matthew writing his gospel. The lengthy Arabic inscription behind him was translated by Kassim Toueir and cited in Dodd (2001:170). The inscription can be translated as: [Accomplished] in the year one thousand, five hundred and four [of the Seleucid calendar] by the hands of the decorator Sarkis, son of the priest Ghali ibn Barran, may God have mercy upon him, and on all who come to this blessed site, healed and forgiven and Amen." The Seleucid date of 1504 corresponds to the modern calendar date of AD 1192/1193. The paint partially exposed by the damage to the Matthew frescoe shows Elisha receiving Elijah as described in 1 Kings 19:15-21.







Eight women saints are painted in the nave of the Mar Musa church. The painters were very skilled in the use of white pigment on top of color pigment to accentuate the facial structure of the women.







Another Holy Woman image in the paintings.







Another Holy Woman image in the paintings. McCullough cited in Dodd (2001:153) translates the Syriac inscriptin as Elizabeth.







The damaged image of a Holy Woman shows an earlier, and smaller image of a Holy Woman.







The painting of a Holy Woman that Dodd (2001:62-63) identifies with Saint Barbara. She is probably right, but my first impression was that this could be the Byzantine Empress Theodora (approximately AD 500-548) based upon the pearls and gold. She is not dressed like a nun or martyr. The widespread use of the three dots on the garment by the artist is probably symbolic of the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).







A small panel in the northeast corner of the nave probably portrays women with palms in the their hands. This figure has a square cut neckline and her hair appears to be gathered into some kind of hairnet.







A second figure from the northeast corner of the apse. She has an dark brown cape with trinity dot pattern that covers an orangish garment with square cut neckline. Her hair also appears to be gathered into some kind of hairnet.







Another figure from the northeast corner of the apse. Her hairstyle would suggest dressed hair that has been braided and penned up around her head. This small figure was concealed behind a later painting of a Holy Woman.







Context of the paintings of women in the nave.