Church of Mikri Episkopi


Mikri Episkopi at Partira
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The ruined village Mikri Episkopi (i.e. Little Diocese) is located near Partira and was the seat of the Diocese of Arcadia. As expected, the village hosted an imposing temple, which has now collapsed and was dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Lord Christ (Metamorphosis Sotiros). The church of the Mikri Episkopi was a four-column cruciform temple with a dome and a narthex, which was later rebuilt and extended with a chapel to the south, dedicated to Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos).

The corner compartments were covered by semi-cylindrical arches, of which the eastern ones are supported by built pillars and the western ones by columns with Corinthian capitals, which apparently come from an adjacent early Christian basilica. The three-part narthex is covered in the middle by an arch and on the sides by transverse lower arches and communicates with the main temple with three arched openings. In the three semi-cylindrical arches, single-arched windows were opened. During the Venetian period, an exonarthex was added to the west, from which traces of the masonry with a door frame with typical post-Gothic elements are preserved.

The church bore frescoes, which today have suffered enormous damage due to the collapse of the roof and their exposure to the weather. A few undefined remains are preserved in the southeast corner apartment dating back to the 14th century. The chapel of Saint Nicholas was frescoed according to the founding inscription in 1444 and is a work of a talented painter, who followed the tradition associated with Constantinople in the middle of the 15th century.

Next to the ruins of the episcopal church is a small single-aisled church dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Panagia).

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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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