Church of Saint Paul


Church of Saint Paul at Selouda
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Saint Paul (Agios Pavlos) is a Byzantine church built on a rock on the beautiful beach of Selouda and belongs to the region of the deserted village Agios Ioannis, province Sfakia. It is located at position Piso Egiali, at a place where it is said that the Apostle Paul baptized Christians during his journey to Rome. It is a very picturesque small church, built with stones from the area, so it is not easy to distinguish it from the sea.

It is believed that it was founded around 1040 by the local Saint John the Hermit (Agios Ioannis Xenos), as he mentions in his will, after the reconstruction of the temple of Zoodochos Pigi in Alikianos. Saint John the Hermit retired to this secluded area to stay quiet away from the people.

The church has a cruciform architecture with a cross and a dome in the center, in the architectural type that was common by Saint John the Hermit. The west side is adorned with a double blind stone arch and white marble suffixes. Internally it is built with simple masonry with the only decorative elements being two niches in the transverse antennas of the cross and to the east.

The temple was adorned with two layers of frescoes, which have been badly damaged apparently due to the proximity to the sea. From the first layer of the 11th century, the four evangelists are depicted in the pendentives, frontal hierarchs in the niche and saints in the lowest zone. The arches of the antennas are occupied by large representations from the evangelical cycle, such as the Nativity, the Baptism, the Epiphany and the Transfiguration of Christ. From the second layer of the 14th century, few traces from the representation of the Second Coming are preserved.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Peak Period: Second Byzantine Era (961 AD - 1204 AD)
  • Accessibility: Walking

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