Epitaphios, in Greek, mean lamentations on the grave.
An epitaphios is a large, embroidered cloth with an image of Christ. Some scholars believe that it is a representation of the Holy Mandylion (Image of Edessa, arguably the Shroud of Turin) that was in Constantinople from A.D. 944 to 1204.
It came into use in Orthodox churches by at least 1300. It is used in the Great Entrance of Orthodox services and displayed on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
There are many striking similarities with the images on the Shroud. One of them is the placement of flowers, just as there are in the Pantocrator icon from St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai, ca. A.D. 550 and apparent images of flowers on the Shroud of Turin.
The imagery is a stark departure from the sublime, victorious portrayals of the risen Christ in the gospels. Some art historians tell us that the Man of Sorrows may have it origins in this art form.
- What is the flower motif used in many pictures of Christ?
- What is the significance of two flower images on the Shroud?