Saint Demetrius church

Viran Episkopi

Saint Demetrius church at Viran Episkopi
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Viran Episkopi is a beautiful village on the western border of the province Mylopotamos and its strange name means ruined Episkopi (Viran in Turkish means ruin and Episkopi in Greek means Diocese). According to Gerola, the village was founded after the liberation of Crete from the Arabs, when some of the old dioceses changed their base. Among them was the diocese of Agrios or Arios, which was moved to this place. It is believed that the new seat of the Diocese of Agrios (or Eleftherni) was the currently restored church of the Saint Irene in Viran Episkopi, around which traces of an imposing three-aisled basilica with interesting architectural parts have been found.

However, there is another imposing temple in the area which is believed that was the episcopal seat, although archaeologists have revealed that it served the bath of the bishops, and this was built on the site of an ancient temple of Artemis. This church is the temple of Saint Demetrius (Agios Dimitrios), located about 1.2 km away from the settlement of Viran Episkopi. Agios Dimitrios today is a very imposing three-aisled basilica with a single-aisled chapel to the south that has a dome, the one aisle of which retains a mural of Saint Demetrius.

The initial bath complex has gone through various phases of conversion to take its current form. The mid-Byzantine bath was originally a two-aisled building with the addition of a domed space, and was later converted into a temple with the addition of an arch to the east, a aisle to the north and a Gothic gate to the west.

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Additional Info

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

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