The small church of St. Constantine and Helen is located west of the village Avdou, on the boundaries with the dam of Aposelemis. It is a single aisled vaulted church with its interior adorned with frescoes of the brothers Emmanuel and Ioannis Fokas, very important representatives of Constantinople art in Crete. The dedicatory inscription refers to the year 1445 and to the Byzantine emperor John VIII Palaeologus (1425-1448), although the Cretans had already experienced two centuries of Venetian occupation.
The dome of the apse is decorated with a representation of Christ Pantocrator, while below it we see the Hierarchs Basil and Chrysostom. The triumphal arch hosts the Hospitality of Abraham, flanked by the composition of the Annunciation (Virgin - Archangel Gabriel). The arch of the sanctuary is covered by the Ascension, Pentecost and the Presentation. In the vault of the nave we see some evangelical scenes (Candlemas, Descent into Hades, Crucifixion, Transfiguration, Healing of the Blind) and some scenes of St. Constantine. The side walls depict Saints (full body). On the west wall we see the Assumption, by Ioannis Fokas, and scenes from the Last Judgment.
The style of Fokas is characterized by a tendency to academicism identified in the austerity, tranquility and balance of the the compositions. These figures rank them among the immediate precursors of the Cretan School of Art (15th and 16th century).
Text: Vasiliki Sythiakaki