Panagia Cathedral Chania


Trimartiri Cathedral at Chania
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The present cathedral of Eisodia (Presentation of Mary) was built on the place of an older temple of "Theotokos" (Virgin Mary) Trimartiri, dating back from the 14th century. When the city of Chania was occupied by the Turks in 1645, the temple was converted into a soap-factory without altering its initial design. Until 1868, the temple functioned as a soap-factory and belonged to the Turkish dignitary Moustafa Pasha Giritli (= the Cretan). In the area of the olive storage room, Moustafa had ordered the protection of the icon of Virgin Mary with a vigil candle.

According to tradition, the soap-factory business went bankrupt and was abandoned, and the icon of Virgin Mary was taken by the last technician. When Moustafa became Prime Minister, during the reign of the Sultan Metzit, the Christian Community requested the re-construction of the temple in the place of the soap-factory. Moustafa assigned the area for this purpose and the Sultan and Veli Pasha (the Commander of Crete) provided monetary support. Despite the hostility between the Christians and the Ottomans, this contribution was appreciated and the church was finally re-built.

The construction of the church was completed in 1860 in the style of a three-aisle basilica. The middle aisle is higher and covered by a pointed arch. The other aisles are covered by cross-ribbed vaults and are divided vertically by the women's balcony. On the northeast side of the temple there is the high bell-tower. The architectural elements of the temple are associated more with the tradition developed in the period of the Venetian occupation: sculptured pseudo-pillars, cornices and arched openings. The east wall is decorated with large and impressive religious paintings, the works of G. Kalliterakis, G. Stravrakis, E. Tripolitakis and D. Kokotsis. The icon of the Virgin Mary ("Eisodion tis Theotokou") was also returned to the temple.

The temple is closely connected to the historical events in the city and it was an asylum and shelter during war time and revolutions. It was severely damaged in May 1941 by the bombs dropped by the Germans.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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