Church of Saint Nicholas


Church of Saints Nicholas and Charalambos at Miliarisi
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The cemeterial temple of Saint Nicholas and Saint Charalambos is located at the deserted settlement Kato Miliarisi and bears frescoes of the 14th century. What makes it unique is that it belonged to both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic doctrines at the same time and inside it hosted two Holy Tables, where two hierarchs of each doctrine operated. In fact, the frescoes depict saints who are well accepted by both Churches, while the names of the saints are at the same time in Greek and Latin.

The temple in Miliarisi is also very special because it is dikonchos (double-niche), a type that is rare. The type of dikonchos church differs from the two-aisled as there is a common roof for both aisles, without interference of wall between the aisles. The dikonchos temple has its roots from the twin pagan sanctuaries of the Ancient Times and especially the worship of Dioscuri. It is also connected to funerary purposes.

The temples of the dikonchos type were usually built on the banks of rivers and streams with water, or cemeteries, like here. It is believed that this had to do with the belief that water is the barrier that prevents the dead pass into the world of the life people. The temple indeed bears frescoes that have a funerary character.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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