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The Churches of Corfu Town

Corfu town has got today 35 churches in service

Agios Spyridon


Ekklisies Ag. Spiridon, click to enlarge Constructed in 1589 with thw contribution of the Corfiot community. It is the church which houses ever since the holy reliques  of Agios Spyridon, Corfu's patron saint .
The huge belltower of the church is predominant in Corfu Town and you will recognize it as you will be walking through the old town and the castles . The bell tower resembles a lot the bell tower of the Greek church of Venice ( San Giorgio dei Greci ).

Ekklisies  Ag. Spiridon Larnaka, click to enlarge You can admire the painted ceiling created by P. Aspiotis (19th century), the marble templon , the oil lamps, the portable icons and the luxurious reliquary , where the holy relique of the Saint is kept . The street leading to the church bears the same name and it is near the northern extremity of the Liston alley .
 
Brief history of the Saint
Ekklisies Ag. Spiridon Litania, click to enlarge
 
 
 
 
Spyridon and his holy relique : Agios Spyridon lived in Cyprus in the 4th century AD. He took part in the 1st ’ Ecumenical Council in 325 AD , where he held a miraculous part .
 
After his death, he was declared a Saint. His remains were taken to Constantinople about the end of the 7th century . After the fall of Constantinople by the Ottomans, the holy relique was moved initially to Arta and then to Corfu , where it was kept under the property of two families (Kalochaireti, Voulgari) until 1967.

 
Ekklisies Ag. Spiridon Litania, click to enlarge Several miracles are mentioned during the lifetime of the Saint .
 
Additionally, many miracles have been reported about the period that his reliquary is in Corfu . The most important of these are celebrated to this day with processions and ceremonies.
 

Ekklisies Ag. Spiridon Litania, click to enlarge Particularly, in 1553 the Saint saved the island of famine . The procession on Easter Saturday commemorates this event . In 1630 he relieved the island of the plague . The procession on the Orthodox Palm Sunday commemorates this event . In 1673 he intervened once more, saving again Corfu of the plague . The procession on the first Sunday of November commemorates this miraculous intervention . Finally, in 1716 he relieved the island of the siege of the Turkish army . The procession on 11 August commemorates this event .


 
Virgin Mary of the Foreigners
 
Ekklisies Panagia Xenon, click to enlarge In the centre of the Old Town (Piazza) and the corner of the small square that Corfiots call Plakada t'Agiou there is a majestic church with wooden roof   built by monk Nikodemos (early 18th century) and was the community church of people from Epirus, who had arrived in Corfu as financial and political immigrants. It is devoted to Virgin Mary Faneromeni. It has got a wooden templon and a ceiling painted by N. Koutouzis (18th century).
 
 
Agios Nikolaos dei Vecchi (of the old people)

Ekklisies Ag,Nikolaos dv, click to enlarge A building of the 14th century with additions and new parts up to the 17th century , when today's carved templon and chapel of Agios Nikolaos was constructed ( Baroque ). From an architect's view, the church is a Basilique . Its original architecture has been modified, due to various destructions .
It is in the end of Philarminikis Street, on the stairway that goes to   Kampiello .
It was the office of head priests (it is possible that it owes its name to that) and it also housed , from 1575 until 1725, the holy relique of Agia Theodora the Empress .
It is here that was baptised on 11 February 1776, Ioannis Kapodistrias , who was the Foreign Affairs Minister of Russia (1815), the person who created the Constitution of Switzwerland (1814) and the first governor of Greece (1828).
The church was given to the Serbs to serve as a Cathedral during World War I , when Corfu welcomed the exiled government and what was left of the Serbian army ( 1916 ).
The gathering hall of the Church was a meeting place for the resistance during the Nazi occupation.
Here you can bow before the largest part of the Holy Cross in Corfu, as well as part of the relique of Agios Nikolaos , Agios Lazaros and parts of other holy reliques.
You can admire the icons and a wonderful representation of Chist on the Cross created by the great Cretan Hagiographer Emm. Tzanes . You can also see the remarkable icons on the outside part of the templon , (Holy Communion, Agia Kerkyra and Agia Theodora the Empress), created by Michael Damaskinos . There are also icons by other important hagiographers of the post-Byzantine era, two icons of Italian manner, as well as the icon of Virgin Mary Kyropoula.
 
Saint John the Baptist
 
Ekklisies Ag,Ioannis, click to enlarge A 15th century church (1480) created by families of the then noble class (Avramis, Androutselis, Voulgaris, Theotokis, Kouartanos, Kapodistrias, Polylas, Dousmanis, Romanos, Chalikiopoulos etc).
The Church is a quadrangular Basilica , surrounded by narthex on the three sides (south, north and west). On the northert narthex there are frescoes of an unknown hagiographer. Its northern and southern wall are covered by frescoes showing the prophetess of the Old Testament and date back to the time ( 1450 – 1550 ) of the peak of the frescoes.
During the Venetian rule, the narthex was used as a cemetery for the members of the Fraternity. Today, there are several tombs , among which the tomb of a Russian Captain , of the suite of Admiral Usakov , ( 1799 ).
Ekklisies Ag,Ioannis, click to enlarge The Church was the office of significant head priests for several years, up to 1717, when took place the last restauration works.
The head priest of this church was for many years the great teacher of the Greek enslaved nation, Corfiot Nikiphoros Theotokis , brilliant writer and famous ecclesiastic orator (1736- 1805), who, because of his important personality was invited by the Emperess of Russia Ekaterini II . There, he was made Archbishop pf Slavenion and Chersona and then of Astrachan and Stavropol .
It is the only church which has the pulpit on the southern wall and this happened so that the crowds of people that came to the church to hear the wonderful orator , regardless of religion or creed could all attend his speeched .
Ekklisies Ag,Ioannis, click to enlarge Take a look at the templon of Corfiot marble , with the icons by known hagiographers of the Cretan-Corfiot School , like the ceiling by the famous Corfiot painter Spyridon Sperantzas (1773), the icons of Christ and the icons of the templon of the most famous and skilled hagiographers of the so-called Ionian Schoo Chyssoloras and Tzenos , the templon doors by Emmanuel Tzannes and the work of a great unknown popular painter.
On the Hol Table (altar) there is a woderful pyx of the Russian manner .
In the church there is a shrine , where are kept reliques of Agios Ioannis Chrysostomos and Agios Ioannis Damaskinos .
In the small museum of the church are exhibited the vestments and the pectoral cross of Nikiphoros Theotokis , as well as two vestments from Russia and a diaconal , donation of Nikiphoros Theotokis to the church the time that he was in Russia .
This is the church that attended the National Poet of Greece Dionysios Solomos , Ioannis Kapodistrias , Iakovos Polylas while  a church warden   was  the   composer of the National Anthem of Greece Nikolaos Mantzaros .
 
Virgin Mary Spilaiotissa
 
Ekklisies Spileotisa, click to enlarge After the d'Anjoux eliminated (d'Anjou - 1272) the Greek Orthodox Metropolite of Corfu (in an attempt to change the people's creed), Corfu no longer had a Cathedral . The Corfiots considered the Cathedral to be , instead, the church where the head priest was in charge (as a substitute of the Metropolite, with administrative and regulatory powers, but without an unction and without the possibility to perform consecrations ). The last " Cathedrals " were Agios Nikolaos dei Vecchi, Agios Ioannis and Taxiarches (1712-1841) (destroyed during World War II).
When the Orthodox Russians become rulers of Corfu, with Admiral Usakov in the lead, who was to be later declared a Saint of the Russian Church (1799), the first Greek state of the Ionian State was founded (1800) and the Orthodox Metropolite was rehabilitated. In 1841 , the church of Voirgin Mary Spilaiotissa was declared to be the Cathedral of Corfu .
The main church was built in 1577 and   it got its actual form in  1913 with some major transformations . When the church became the Cathedral of Corfu , ’ the icon of Virgin Mary Dimosiana was transferred there , ( the protector of Cprfu Town 15th century ), as well as the holy relique of Agia Theodora the Emperess (brought to Corfu from Constantinople by clergyman Gregorios Polyefktos in 1456 ).
You can admire the templon and the icons , fruit of the wonderful 16th century art , as well as the templon doors with the icons of the Cretan hagiographer Emmanuel Tzanes .
Agia Theodora, click to enlargeWe also highlight the large icon of the Crucifiction ( Paleologian manner) and the three oversized paintings of Italian manner, with representations of the Old Testament , parts of a tetralogy (the fourth painting of which was destroyed by the bombardments of World War II). You will also see work of the great painters Damaskinos (16th century) and Paramythiotis (18th century).
The name Spileotissa is due to the adjacent gate " Porta Spilea ", which was one of the main entrance gated to the Town.
 
Brief history of Agia Theodora.
 
Agia Theodora was born in 815 AD, in Paphlagonia of Asia Minor, the time of the war of icons .
In 830 AD, when she was only 15 years old, she was married to Emperor Theophilos who died 12 years later( 842 ), making Theodora the Emperess  of the Byzantine Empire, as the   guardian of her son, Michael, who was a minor. At this point, she approved of the minutes of the 7th Ecumenical Council of Nicaea ( 787 AD ), she replaced the Patriarch and restaured the icons. Upon the decision of the Holy Synod, on 11 February 842, first Sunday of the Lent Period before Easter, the clergy gathered at the church of Agia Sophia in Constantinople and with Empress Theodora at the head of the procedure, they performed the Procession of the Holy Icons . The Greek Orthodox Church honors and celebrates this event every year on the first Sunday of the Lent Period before Easter, which bears the name Sunday of Orthodoxy .
Saint Theodora died on 11 February 867 at the monastery where she lived upon order of her son, Michael. The Greek Orthodox Church declared her to be a Saint .

Agioi Pantes
 
The historic church of Agioi Pantes and Virgin Mary Vlachairena was first built in 1688. Later on it was connected to the church of Virgin Mary Vlachairena of the butcher's cooperative , and the Church got its current form( 1851 ). It was then that  the templon with the famous portable icons and the icon of Virgin Mary Vlachairena were brough to this church .
The butchers' cooperative supported the Church. For every calf that they killed, they gave the money for one of the legs that they sold to a separate funds in favor of the Church .
Despite the fact that the  cooperative of the butchers, (as well as amy other cooperative in Corfu) doesn't exist anymore, there is still the habit  of the butchers supporting the council of the church.
You can admire icons and relics of a special artistic and historic value . What's special here is Jesus on the Cross in the Altar, the three templon doors and icons by Geogrios Chrysoloras, Theodoros Agelatos, Daniel Koklas and Samartzis and the templon, covered with silver sheets .
 
Agios Antonios
 
Ekklisies Ag,Antonios, click to enlarge In the end of the road from the Liston to the Old port of Spilia (Nikiphorou Theotoki street), there is the historic   church of Agios Antonios. In this church attended the Mass in 1437 Emperor Ioannis VIII Paleologos (brother of Konstantinos Paleologos, last Emperor of the Byzantine Empire), Ecumenical Patriarch Joseph and the Imperial escort when they stopped here during their journey to Ferrara ( congress of Ferrara( ). Two people of the escort were Georgios Scholarios (Gennadios) and Georgios Gemistos (Plithon).

 
 
 
 
Agioi Iasonas and Sosipatros
 
Ekklisies, click to enlarge The only church of Byzantine architecture in Corfu. Built around 1000 AD at the area of Anemomylos. The construction of a luxurious church at the Anemomylos suburb, so far away from the fortified town, shows  the prosperity and the safety that Corfu enjoyed. Admire the church itself as well as art pieces by important painters like Emmanuel Tzannes (17th century). Here are kept the relics of Saints Iason and Sosipatros.
 
Virgin Mary Kremasti
 
Ekklisies Spileotisa, click to enlarge A church of the Ionian manner, built before the 16th century . It is special for its geometric decoration and its luxurious interior with the marble templon, the doors of which are decorated with representations of vine leaves and impressive large icons by Sperantsas (18th century).
 
 
 
Pantokratoras
 
Pantokrator, click to enlarge The carved angel on top of the roof( by the Italian sculptor Toretti , 18th century) is the main feature of this church, which is relatively a simple church of the Ionian manner (early 16th century .). It is in the Taxiarches Square at Kampiello.
In this church there used to be the historic church of Taxiarches, which was destroyed by a Nazi bombardment during World War II. The very same bombardments caused serious damage to the Church of Pantokratoras,too .

 
 
 
Saint Jacob's Catholic Cathedral (Duomo)
 
Ekklisies S.Giacomo, click to enlarge The  Cathedral of the Catholic community  is situated at the Town Hall square. An elegant building , restaured after the World War II bombardments (1943) , with the typical baroque curve at the upper front part, the Gothic tower and the tall belltower. It underwent serious damage of a  Nazi bombardment during World War II.
 
 
Church of Saint Francis of Assisi.

Ekklisies Tenedos, click to enlarge One of the most historic churches of Corfu . It's so old, that we don't know exactly when it was constructed. What we do know is that it was given to a female monastery in the period of the Epirus Despotate ( 12th century period of Angeloi Komninoi).
The church is a living historic monument of the schism and the rivalry of the Orthodox and the Catholic Church.
When the d'Anjoux took over Corfu (d'Anjou - 1272 ) they eliminated the Orthodox Archbishop, they confiscated the ecclesiastic property and they took from the Orthodox the best churches . Later on this church was given to the Latin monks of Saint Francis of Assisi( 1367 ). Only in 1943 , after the end of World War II, the Catholic Vicar gave to the Orthodox Metropolite of Corfu the holy reliques of Saint Arsenios, Iason and Sosipatros , which were kept in a crypt of the church.
In this church,  the Corfiots gave the town keys to the Venetian admiral Giovanni Miani, surrendering to the Serene Republic of Venice . (20/5/ 1386 )
 
Virgin Maru pf Tenedos.

Ekklisies Tenedos, click to enlarge A Catholic Monastery of the early 18th century with important history. The church was built from 1678-1688, under the Latin Bishop Marco Antonio Barbarigo in the place of an older church and was inaugurated in 1749 by the Latin Bishop Antonio Nanni (1742-1765). It is an important , architecturally, church with a dome, double lateral chapels and a bell tower. It owes its name to the monks that had to abandon Tenedos , after its fall to the Ottomans in 1657 and come to Corfu, bringing along the wonderful icon of the Virgin Mary .
At the central entrance there is a curved representation of the Venetian lion
and the inscription "Sub Ubra Alarum Tuatum Protege nos MDCCXII".  On either side there is the emblem   of the Donas family (right) and the emblem of the Franciscan Monks (left)
The Tenedos monastery housed for the first time the public library of Corfu (1800-1807), the fisrt Greek teacher's school (1805) supervised by Ioannis Kapodistrias and the first Greek printing house , where the " Thourios " of Rigas Ferreos was imprinted (an early singer and martyr of the Greek revolution).
 
Agios Georgios - Old Fortress .

Ekklisies S.George, click to enlarge A former Anglican Church for the English soldiers . Built on the designs of Antony Emmet . Its interior was destroyed by the German bombardments in 1943 and it was restaured to its original form in 2008 . After the unification of the Ionian islands to Greece, it is an Orthodox church   and the old stone templon of the church of Agios Spyridon has been installed here ; the templon at the Agios Spyridon church was replaced with a marble one in the early 2th century. Until the mid 20th century, it was the only church in Corfu where the night Mass of the Resurrection was held . Later on, the Mass of the Resurrection was transferred to the church of Agia Paraskevi , where it is being held to this day.

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