Panagia church at


Panagia at Meronas
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The church of the Dormition of Theotokos (Virgin Mary) is located at the village Meronas and is one of the most important, if not the most important, religious monuments in province Amari. The earliest reference to Meronas is found in a notary document of 130. The settlement was named Meronas, from the Greek verb merono (relax, cool down), as according to tradition, at this place Virgin Mary (Panagia) relaxed when the temple was built at this place.

It is a three-aisled vaulted basilica of the 14th century with the central nave dedicated to the Dormition, the north aisle to Saint George and the south aisle, which was added later, to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Subsequently, a small bell tower was added to the south side of the church. The central aisle is covered by a pointed arch and the two sides by a half arch; they communicate with large arched openings.

The two older aisles bear frescoes, while the aisle of Saint Peter and Paul was not decorated.The frescoes decorating the temple are some of the most interesting in Crete, dating back to the second half of the 14th century. They are part of a group of monuments, whose decoration reveals a style derived from Constantinople. It is likely that Kallergis family, who controlled the area of Amari (the coat of arms of the family is drawn) invited a hagiographer from the Constantinople.

The nave hosts depictions from the Christological cycle, such as the Transfiguration, the Entry into Jerusalem, the Crucifixion and scenes from the life of Virgin Mary. The north aisle hosts scenes from the Life of Saint George and the 24 houses of the Akathist Hymn. Particularly impressive is the performance of the Tree of Jesse, which occupies the entire west wall of the nave. It is worth mentioning that during the Ottoman rule, the locals covered with plaster the frescoes in order to save them from the fury of the Turks who destroyed any Christian symbol.

The church houses the impressive icon of the Panagia Hodegetria (Guiding Virgin Mary), which is probably a tribute of Kallergis family. On the wooden temple icons from other local churches have been positioned.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Rethymnon Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Accessibility: Paved road
  • Entrance Fee (€): Ticket 2€, Reduced 1€

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