Lit a candle on Athos with hope for the restoration of the frescoes in this Church
History of the Restoration of the Frescoes of St. Nicholas
In 1900, scientists became interested in the temple. On finding cracks in the walls and vaults, they sounded the alarm: the old church in Fountoukli could collapse! That was when the specialists of the Italian Archaeological Service came to the rescue.The Italian specialists carefully restored the walls of the old temple and tried to refurbish the fresco paintings. It is impossible to deny that the Italian masters thoroughly cleaned frescoes from salts, accurately preserving the composition, figures and clothes. But unfortunately, the difference between the Western and Eastern iconographic traditions played a bad trick on them. When the saints, depicted on the Greek frescoes acquired on their faces the expressions that were typical of the images of the Church of Rome, and when the draping clothes were changed (that seemed to be a mere trifle!), the harmony of the frescoes was spoilt. Yet the fresco paintings continued to be alive and touching witnesses of an enormous parental love, the worship of the Almighty God, and the great Greek history.
The harmonious, well outlined images of the angels, evangelistsand figures in the scene of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple are still visible. The scenes of the Transfiguration and Assumption are as dramatic as ever. In general, the features of the monumental technique of the past can be discerned through the later layers and still are inspiring awe and admiration for the genius of the old masters.
The frescoes in Fountoukli again need the protection and support of peopleas well as conservation and the most careful restoration.