Skip to main content

Agios Georgios and Agios Pachomios near Apiranthos

In the valley south of Apíranthos, close to the hiking trail that leads to Danakós, lie two old Byzantine churches from the 10th century with interesting murals.

Agios Georgios, the larger of the two churches, consists of two naves. Here the two apses from the outside.

The roof of the northern ship of Ágios Geórgios is covered in the traditional way with stone slabs.

The dome of Agios Pachomios resembles the hull of a windmill.

the church complex from the southwest side

The walls, as with most Byzantine churches on Naxos, are built of rough, unhewn stones in a rather negligent way.

Ágios Geórgios

Ágios Geórgios has two naves, the southern one of which has a very low dome. This nave is decorated in the area of the apse with poorly preserved, rather simple and “rural” murals.

The low door of the northern nave is covered by a disproportionately large lintel stone.

the northern nave from the inside

Here in the southern nave, one can see how poorly the whole church is built: the walls and half-columns are askew, and the dome is only roughly round.

The apse of the southern nave is decorated with murals from the 13th century, some of which are comparatively well preserved.

The lower part shows a number of saints.

As usual, the godfather (Pantokratoras) is depicted in the middle of the apse, with two figures to the right and left of him.

To the left of him stands Mother Mary in a pleading posture.

Like all the paintings in this church, the Virgin is executed rather simply, the face mainly “painted with strokes”; nevertheless, it is very expressive.

Some particularly delicate parts of the murals have been covered with a special cloth to protect them.

To the right and left of the apse lie small niches, also with pictures of saints.

The figure in the left niche is quite well preserved.

In the northern part very rare fragments of non-figurative murals from the 10th century, the time of the iconoclasm, have survived.

Ágios Pachómios

Ágios Pachómios is a very small cross-domed church; the dome of this church is relatively high.

The very small church of Agios Pachomios dates from the 12th century, so it is slightly younger than the other.

a curious donkey

The western “arm” of the cross is quite long, while the southern and northern arms are very short.

This church is still in use and has a typical wooden altar wall. Similar to the church of Ágios Pachómios in Tsikalarió, young children were pushed through the hole in the altar wall to make them fat and strong (the name of the saint is derived from pachís = fat).

The murals in the spandrels below the dome are the best preserved; they depict the four evangelists, here St John the Theologian. As in many churches a small “sound vase” is built into the wall; the opening of the clay vessel can be seen in the spandrel. It was intended to improve the acoustics.

The murals are executed more carefully than in the church of Ágios Geórgios. There is another sound vase in this spandrel.

The ornaments are painted in fine detail.

On the south wall below the dome a large angel is depicted.

It is very carefully crafted. According to a date, the decoration of this church was made in 1254.

The white splashes on the garment are strongly elevated “three-dimensional” dabs of colour.

In the western part of the church, above the entrance, the crucifixion of Christ is depicted on the north side.

In the western part of the church the crucifixion of Christ is depicted.

Figure to the right of the small window above the entrance

The dome shows God the Father in the centre, surrounded in a rather ancient manner by twelve figures, including four angels carrying the “shield” with the head of the Pancrator.

What a pity that the murals are not so well preserved!

view of the churches from the south with Apiranthos in the background

continue: Agios Joannis in Kerami

see also:

Web site content

Comments are closed.