Church of Saint Paraskevi


Church of Saint Paraskevi at Episkopi
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In the old center of the village Episkopi, province Pediada, we meet the church of Saint Paraskevi (Agia Paraskevi) that celebrates on July 26. It is a small, single-nave, barrel vaulted church that is located on the south side of the square, which has the same name, and very close ot the Byzantine church of Panagia Faneromeni. The church dates back to the period of the Venetian Rule, more specifically to the 15th century. There are two entrances, one on the west and one on the north, with ornate Venetian aedicules. On the monolithic lintel of the north entrance, there are two elaborate spirals. Just in front of the Altar, there is a tomb, whose owner is unknown.

The iconostasis is wooden and, in some parts icon-painted, while it bears elements of a vine over the central gate. It is decorated with the icons of Vrefokratoussa (Infant Holder) (1979), Pantocrator (Almighty) (1982) and St. Paraskevi (1964). There was a restoration of the church in 1960 and in 1999, as it is one of the most important monuments of the Episcopate.

On the quadrant of the apse there is the icon of Christ as the Great Priest, on the alcove the Co-Officiating Hierarchs and on the north and south walls of the sanctuary, frontal Saints. On the frieze of the east wall, there is the “Hospitality of Abraham” and a bit lower, the “Annunciation”. The arch that surmounts a part of the sanctuary is decorated with the “Ascension of Jesus” and the “Pentecost”. On the arch of the main church, there are 22 scenes of St. Paraskevi’s Life. In this depiction, there is something especially interesting and rare. It is well-known that Crete was occupied by the Venetians during the period the church was built. Thus, throughout the entire illustration, the Venetians clearly appear to be the enemies, as they are wearing metal armors and full-face helmets. This is more visible in the presentation of “Hell”, where we can see faces of Venetians burning. Impressive is also a dragon, illustrated in a scene from St. Paraskevi’s life, which points to a Venetian crest. Is it the artist’s propaganda or just a western painting influence? On the arch there are also two supporting arcs, on which Prophets are depicted. The north and south walls are fully painted with frontal Saints and among them (on the south wall) “Peter and Paul kissing”. On the west wall there is the “Judgement Day”, from which there are only fragments left.


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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Peak Period: Venetian Era (1204 AD - 1669 AD)
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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