Religious Monuments of Crete


Christ Savior church at Pandeli (Handras)
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The church of Christ the Savior is located in the lush location of Mesa Pandeli or Pano Pandeli, on the outskirts of the village Chandras in province Sitia, and is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior (feast takes place in August 6th). The temple dates back to the 14th century and is quite large compared to other Byzanntine temples in the province of Sitia.

At this point it is believed that there was a small monastery, as there are some traces of buildings around the temple. This is also supported by the existence of a water source that supplies the river Pandelis, which flows into Sitia beach. Today the exterior is beautifully landscaped with benches, a fountain, barbecues etc donored by the family of Georgios Anipsitakis.

However, the most interesting thing are the high quality frescoes which are preserved inside the church and are dated to the middle of the 15th century. The pictorial program includes scenes from the Twelve feasts, the Passion, and scenes from the Genesis. The circle of Passion has 18 scenes, two of which are extremely rare in Crete (Return of the Thirty pieces of silver and Hanging of Judas).

The large circle of Adam and Eve is also worthy to mention, a theme that is found only in 4 more Byzantine temples on the island. The Protoplast cycle alone comprises 11 scenes, starting with Creation of the World and Protoplasts and ending with Eviction from Paradise.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Accessibility: Dirt track

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