What are the characteristics that make these churches in Greece special?
Exploring Greece, what you will find are churches and monasteries with special features that make them special. Either on a mountain or on the islands everywhere, there are Greek churches that are different and have behind them a special story to tell you.
We selected 5 churches in Greece that we feel hide a special history. For those of you who wish to experience these churches in person, contact one of our expert travel designers here, and together you can plan a unique holiday in Greece and include some (or all) of the below churches. If you already know where you want to go and what you would like to see, email your request at [email protected] and state how you envision your itinerary and we’ll make sure to bring it to life!
Agia Fotini – Mantineia, Arcadia
Its unique characteristics make it not only one of the strange churches of Greece but of the whole world. Agia Fotini is located west of the archeological site of Ancient Mantineia. It is the holy church of Agia Fotini that belongs to the Mantinean Association. This church was founded in 1969 and inaugurated in 1978. Already from the outside, the church is different from the usual. It is the diversity of materials, but also its architecture. In this church, an attempt to combine elements of Byzantine art with elements of ancient Greek culture is evident. This can be seen strongly inside as well, observing the mosaic floors and the representations on the walls.
You do not find a similar church anywhere in Greece. You cannot classify it in any particular architecture and in a strange way it combines elements of ancient Greece with the Christian spirit. As inspired and implemented by its creator, Costas Papatheodorou, architect, painter, and hagiographer.
Agia Theodora – Peloponnese
A small Byzantine church on the border of the prefectures of Arcadia and Messenia attracts the interest of hundreds of visitors. Not by chance as it has something very wonderful. In this small Church of Agia Theodora, a building of the 12th century, 17 large trees, reaching a height of 20 meters, spring from its roof. The roots of the trees are not visible and only the trunks and branches that pass through the walls and the roof of the tiny Temple can be seen. The Guinness Book of World Records has included it as a “wonderful abyss”. The water that runs in the river, which is next to the church, irrigates the seventeen trees that come out from inside.
Tradition says that the number of trees is not random, since they correspond to the years of St. Theodora. According to one of the two stories that exist, Agia Theodora came from a poor family. Since she was the eldest child, due to the financial misery of her family, she was forced to disguise herself as a man and serve as a mercenary soldier. A young girl fell in love with “him” as Theodoros. However, because there was no response, the young woman accused “him” of leaving her pregnant. Therefore, it seems that “he” was led to martyrdom by the girl’s family. Theodora, who was very God-fearing, prayed to God, before her beheading, for her hair to become trees, her blood to flow, and her body to be a temple.
Panagia Kakaviotissa – Lemnos Island
This particular church in Lemnos stands out because it is the only small church in Greece without a roof. The picturesque, unique chapel is located on top of a mountain in Lemnos. Its architecture makes it stand out. It is located under a cave and has no roof. It took its name from the mountain Kakavo on which it is located, 4 km southeast of the port of Myrina.
Over the years the monks passed away and the latter decided to leave Lemnos and go to Mount Athos. New monks did not come to the chapel, which remained an attraction of the island. The chapel of “Panagia tis Kakaviotissas” is a sanctuary for those who want to isolate themselves and pray.
Panagia Parigoritissa – Arta
This church is the most important Byzantine monument of Arta and has something special. The imposing Panagia Parigoritissa stands out for its dome. And that’s because it seems to be hovering. How is this done? The master builder of the time who undertook the construction of the church wanted to make the dome different. He wanted to keep the dome, dominated by the Pantocrator mosaic, visible from the entrance. He also thought that with a different architecture there could be space and adequate lighting. Therefore, he devised and finally implemented a really original and very bold design for the time, to support the dome.
With a special architecture, then, the second floor of columns was led with a pyramidal shape and with almost floating columns to the dome. Thus, it is safe to say that the dome in this church seems to “float”.
Saints Seven Children Holy Chapel – Santorini Island
Many churches are difficult to reach on foot or by car. This is also the case with the Saints Seven Children Holy Chapel in Santorini. It is a small temple that does not exist in the Aegean. This is because you can see another church on the rock but it will not be as well-hidden as the Saints Seven Children Holy Chapel. The most characteristic thing that makes it stand out is that access to it is only through the sea.
The place which is hidden in a steep cave in the bay “Mouzakia”, next to the bay of Armeni, symbolizes the cave where the Holy Seven Children were hidden in Ephesus to be saved from persecution against Christians.
Feature Image by: Strolling in Greece