Church of Saint Paraskevi


Saint Paraskevi church at Aitania
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A few meters north of Aitania village starts an impressively steep downhill dirt road leading to the church of Saint Paraskevi (Agia Paraskevi). Agia Paraskevi is located in a valley of incredible beauty filled with ancient tall cypress trees that dominate throughout the region. Just below the small chapel, before water drilling changed the underwater water level, there was a sping called Lazarakis which has now dried up.

The church of Agia Paraskevi, despite its small size has an impressive history. In recent years the Municipality of Hersonissos has installed an information sign with very basic information about the church. Agia Paraskevi is a very old temple and its building is dated back to two periods. The largest part of the church we see today dates back from the 14th century, the Venetian era, but at the base of the sanctuary we observe traces from the first phase of construction, probably from the Byzantine period.

The church's interior, contrary to the simple exterior is impressive and full of frescoes. The frescoes that adorn the walls of the small temple were painted in two different layers with the top layer belonging to the 14th century and which is kept in very good condition. From the paintings we can easily recognize mostly male figures such as Saint Vlassios, Saint Titus, Saint John the Theologian, some military saints and scenes from the Virgin Mary cycle. In the sanctuary we see Saint Stephen, the Annunciation and Christ.

Agia Paraskevi in Aitania always had a special role in the life of the village and the elderly locals still narrate a wonder that took place here frequently. Anyone with some kind of medical problem should come to Agia Paraskevi alone, not accompanied. The tradition says that the patient should walk around the temple (from outside) pleasing God. After completing the cycle he should enter the temple and drink some water dripping from the dry (up to then) wall. The holy water should then be placed on the aching part of the body and everything would be treated. The stories about wonders date back earlier than the 70s.

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Additional Info

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

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