The church of Panagia at Lambini is a tetrastyle cruciform church (11th-12th century) with a dome and a very impressive bell tower. The imposing church functioned as a Diocese of Lambi, while in 1950 the locals identified on a frescoe of the Virgin Mary the surname Lambini (shining).
It bears wall frescoes in three (or four) layers. The first layer is part of the Comnenian art, dates to the end of the 12th century and has been damaged by pounding for better bonding of the next layer. To this layer belong frescoes of the sanctuary and the northwest corner apartment with representations of hierarchs and angels in the quarters and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary and Saint Nicholas on the north wall. The second layer of the middle of the 13th century is located on the west side of the temple. The third layer, dating to the early 14th century, covers mainly the previous ones and includes scenes from the Mariological and Christological cycle and the Second Coming. The founder Ioannis Kapsodasis is represented with an inscription of 1301. The last layer includes mainly some scenes of the Mariological cycle and Saint Eustache and dates back to the first half of the 15th century.
The church was the theatre for a black page of the Cretan History on January 20, 1829, during the Divine Liturgy. The Turks asked the locals to surrender, but they resisted. Then they burned the door, invaded the church, massacred all the men and then burned them. The women were moved to Rethymnon and sold as slaves.
Photo: Thanassis Delizonas