2008 World Monuments Watch
Built in 1295, the Holy Mother of God Peribleptos is one of the oldest churches in the historic town of Ohrid in southwestern Macedonia. The domed cross-in-square church was commissioned by the Byzantine governor Progonos Sgouros, a son-in-law of emperor Andronikos II Palaeologos. The frescoes in the church—which have substantially contributed to current knowledge of Palaeologan painting—include images from the Passion and the Gospels, the life of the Virgin Mary, and the life of John the Baptist. Byzantine painters Michael and Eutychios signed their work at the church, making Holy Mother of God Peribleptos one of only four churches that preserves the signatures of these important artists. An ambulatory was added to the church in the fourteenth century, but closed off in the nineteenth century, giving the entrance to the building its unusual appearance. Holy Mother of God Peribleptos has suffered from improper roof conservation in the past, which has allowed additional moisture to enter the building. As a result, rising damp and salts leeching out of the walls have severely affected the Byzantine frescoes. Changes in pigment are noticeable, and in some areas the paintings have started to fall from the walls. The local community is eager to restore the church, but requires international assistance to do so.
Since the Watch
In 2009 the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation awarded funds for the documentation and conservation of the Church. December 2010