Panagia Church


Panagia Vrefotrofos Temple at Agios Nikolaos
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The church of the Panagia Vrefotrofos (Virgin Mary - the protector of infants) is located in the center of the city of Agios Nikolaos, near the sea. It's construction dates back from the 12th century. The church has been restored, and it is a single-nave barrel-vaulted church with a west-facing entrance. Its dome is supported by reinforcing arches and covered with a saddleback roof. During the Venetian rule the inside of the church was decorated with frescoes, some of which survive in fragments. Furthermore, inside the church one can see the monumental tomb of the Venetian noble Lavrentios Malipiero, with a Latin inscription bearing the date 1602. On the axis of the temple, west and at a distance of 10m, a column rises. Originally the temple was smaller and extended to the west with a narthex.

The interior bears frescoes in two layers, from the early 14th century and from the end of the 14th century. The first layer is located in the eastern part and includes scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary. The second layer is located in the arch of the western part of the temple, since it probably did not cover the pre-existing layer. A typical indication of the two different layers is the double representation of the Palm Sunday (Vaiforos) on the north and south walls. Because we see mainly monks and saints on the north wall, we conclude that the church was a small monastery. The narthex added to the west does not retain any frescoes.

It celebrates on September 8 and on February 3.

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Additional Info

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

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