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standard-title Religious Tourism in Lefkada

Religious Tourism in Lefkada

Lefkada has a rich religious history and a series of very noteworthy monuments of the Christian faith (monasteries and churches) that are scattered on the island and constitute places of attraction for the visitors who are interested in this particular part of local history.

The Holy Bishopric of Lefkada and Ithaca is trying hard to renovate and promote the Christian cultural heritage of the island so as to attract the interest of the pilgrims

Brief history

Η Εικόνα της Πεφανερωμένης

The icon of Panagia Pefaneromeni

The ecclesiastical history in Lefkada begins in 65 AD when Paul the Apostle made a stop on the island on his way to the neighbouring town of Nikopolis. In the small cavern that nowadays hosts the small church of Agios Ioannis Antzousis, he conducted the first “prayer gathering”, while he also proclaimed his disciple Sosion as the first bishop of the island. The latter convinced many Lefkadians to embrace the new faith.

Then, in 324 AD, asceticism was founded on the island, when five of the Holy Fathers who had accompanied Bishop Agatharhos to the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea returned and disembarked at the small harbour of Episkopos. Three of them became monks at the location where the monastery of Agii Pateres (Holy Fathers) stands today, on the mountain of Skari, above Nikiana, and the other two became monks at the monastery of Faneromeni.

The big gap concerning the sources during the Byzantine years prevents us from knowing anything about the ecclesiastical history of those times. What we know is that some efforts to promote the Frankish culture in the island later on, in the 14th century, were not successful.

In 1470, Helena Palaiologina Brankovic restored monasteries on the island and rebuilt the church of Santa Maura.

During the Venetian and the English Rule the Orthodox Christian faith was ruthlessly diminished. Nevertheless, several important personalities stood up and kept the faith alive, such as the Archbishops of Lefkada and Santa Maura Dionysios Konidaris (1738-1742), Chrysanthos Psomas (1743-1766), Parthenios Konidaris (1799-1818) and Grigorios Aravanis (1852-1886), the archimandrite and abbot of the monastery of Faneromeni Nektarios Zampelis, the deacon Nikiforos Theotokis, who was ordained at the monastery of Faneromeni, and Cosmas of Aetolia, a preaching monk that was considered to be a modern Apostle of the Greek Orthodox faith.

During the Russo-Turkish Rule, in 1799, the archbishopric of Lefkada and Santa Maura was upgraded into a metropolitan archbishopric.

The contribution of the island’s clergy to the struggle for the liberation from the Ottoman Rule was of great significance, exactly like the aid that the church provided during the island’s harsh times (natural disasters, diseases, wars).

In 1864 the Church of the Ionian Islands and, consequently, the one of Lefkada was united with the Greek Orthodox Church.

Monasteries

There are two monasteries with monks and nuns on the island, one at the northern side and one at the southern side.

Monastery of Faneromeni

Ιερά Μονή Φανερωμένης Λευκάδας

View of the church of the monastery of Faneromeni in Lefkada

The monastery of the island’s patroness saint is found on a hill above the settlement of Fryni, in a location with an amazing view of the flatland, the town of Lefkada and the endless beach of Gyra.

The history of the monastery begins in 65 AD when the place that used to be a worship site of Artemis was miraculously turned into the first “house of prayer”. Later, in 325 AD two of the five Holy Fathers, that accompanied the bishop of the island Agatharhos when he returned from the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, stayed there as monks.

It was named “Faneromeni” because the first icon of Virgin Mary (that was destroyed in a fire) was miraculously revealed upon a board to the iconographer Kallistos, who just added the colours. The new icon that is kept at the monastery is the work of Veniamin Kontrakis from 1887 and the iconostasis of the church is the work of Efstathios Prosalentis.

After many catastrophes throughout the centuries, the monastery took its modern form during the years of the Venetian Rule (1684-1797). It has been and still is an important centre of religious, cultural and social life and the Lefkadians who live all over the world never neglect visiting it when they are on the island.

On the premises of the monastery there is an Ecclesiastical Museum, with many exhibits from the monastery and other churches of the island, and a Maritime Museum, with replicas of ships, constructed and donated by Nikolaos Thanos (Morinas). The monastery houses 9 monks and 1 novice.

It is open from sunrise to sunset. In the summertime, it remains closed from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Abbot: Archimandrite Nikiforos Asprogerakas
Tel: 2645021305
Fax: 2645021405
E-mail: fanerome5@otenet.gr

Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Nira

Το μοναστήρι του Αγίου Νικολάου στη Νιρά

The monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Nira

It is located at the south-western edge of the island, just before the cape of Lefkatas. It was built after the Crusaders passed from the island with the body of Saint Nicholas in May 1087. In antiquity, the same location was occupied by a temple of Poseidon. The initially small church soon gathered pilgrims from the surrounding areas. Furthermore, there was a good collaboration between the monks and the local residents in various agricultural and apiarian works. The monastery gained power and played an important role in the spiritual and national awareness of the people of south-western Lefkada and the broader region.

The church and the surrounding buildings were renovated many times because of the intense seismic activity of the area. The iconostasis of the temple is a work of Andreas Mpetzos (1799) while the icon of Saint Nicholas is a work of Dimitrios Fokaris from 1699. This icon is the oldest signed and dated one of the island. Outside the church there are some old and heavily damaged stone beehives. There are many theories about when, by whom and why they were constructed. The monastery was recently renovated and has been a convent since the winter of 2013.

Acting abbot: Archimandrite Georgios Dellas.
Tel – Fax: 2645039108 – 6972818079.

Abandoned Monasteries and Churches

There are scattered monasteries on the islands that are abandoned and closed. Most of them have been included into a restoration program that promotes the religious and cultural heritage that they bear. These monasteries usually open on the celebration days of their patrons and patronesses saints and, in some occasions, during the Holy Week or during summer, according the program of the bishopric.

Monastery of Panagia Dematisana at the beach of Gyra

Ο Ιερός Ναός της Παναγίας της Γύρας

Panagia Dematisana at Gyra

It is located to the north of the town of Lefkada and was given the name “Dematisana” due to the gulf of Demata at the entrance of the island. It was founded in 1503 and for some time it belonged to the well known Zampelis family. Inside the church there are icons of exceptional art made by Tomaso Gen.

Person in charge: Archpriest Anastasios Messinis, vicar of the church of Agios Nikolaos in Lefkada (tel: 2645025410, 2645024200 and 6974778955

Monastery of Odigitria

Photo: Ioannis Falkonis

It is the oldest preserved religious monument of the island. It is located at the edge of the olive grove, on the road to Karya.

According to the tradition, it was founded in 1464 by Helena Palaiologina in memory of her daughter, Melissa, who was the wife of Leonadro III Tocco, duke of Lefkada, and who died in 1463. Helena herself became a nun under the name “Ypomoni” (Patience) and served as an abbess until her death in 1474. What is certain is that Helena renovated the church and took care of its icons and paintings.

The central church of the monastery had wall paintings dating back in the 15th century that have been taken off the wall and are kept at the Byzantine Museum of Athens. The temple is dedicated to Virgin Mary and it is nowadays closed. The gate and the churchyard were created in more recent times, maybe after the earthquake of 1912.

Person in charge: Priest Panagiotis Zavitsanos, vicar of Apolpena (tel: 2645025221 and 6932793226)

Monastery of Genisi Theotokou (Panagia Episkopi) in Spanohori

It is located just outside Spanohori, a village of central Lefkada, and is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. It was founded in the 14th century and until 1697 it served as the Episcopal seat of the Archbishop of the island.

It is closely connected to both local uprisings of the Lefkadian peasants, namely “the Rebellion of the Prod” in 1357 against the Venetian ruler Graziano Giorgio, which is celebrated by Aristotelis Valaoritis in his poem “Foteinos”, and the rebellion of 1819 against the English.

Person in charge: Priest Leonidas Georgakis, vicar of Spanohori (tel: 2645071742)

Monastery of Profitis Ilias in Spanohori

Nowadays it is just a small church across the village of Spanohori, with a beautiful view of the north of the island. It was founded in the times of the Ottoman Rule of the island (1479-1684) and possessed many estates. Its temple was restored in 2003 and is today a favourite place of worship for the peasants of the surrounding villages of Sfakiotes.

Person in charge: Priest Leonidas Georgakis, vicar of Spanohori (tel: 2645071742)

Retreat of Agii Pateres

agioi pateres_new

It is located on the mountain of Skari, above Nikiana, a village of the eastern side of Lefkada. This site was chosen by three of the Holy Fathers that accompanied the bishop of that time, namely Agatharhos, after his return from the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.

It is built within a rock and besides it there is a cave where the three Holy Fathers were buried. Nowadays, this cave hosts a small church and there is a spring of water coming out of one of the graves, which is considered to be blessed.

There is also the “Seal of the Holy Fathers”, made of lead, round and with the images of the three Holy Fathers engraved on it.

During the last centuries the monastery served as a metochion of the monastery of Agios Georgios in Skari with nuns up to 1978.

Persons in charge: Oeconomus Panogiorgos Ktenas (tel: 264504115. 2645041698 and 6936422171) and priest Panagiotis Lazaris (tel: 2645061284 and 6978856752

Monastery of Agios Georgios on Mount Skari

Το καθολικό της Ι.Μ. του Αγίου Γεωργίου στους Σκάρους

The church of the monastery of Agios Georgios on Mount Skari

It is located on the mountain of Skari just before the settlement of Kolyvata. It was founded in 1611. During the years of the Ottoman and the Venetian Rule, the conquerors recognized the right of the monastery to possess large pieces of land the right to exploit the forest of Skari that consists of a unique species of oak as well as other trees. Its wall paintings were possibly created between 1621 and 1624 and the iconostasis was created in 1724.

Many prominent clerics and scholars have studied and taught in the monastery, such as Methodios, Anthimos Mitrofanis, Georgios and Panagiotis Zampelios, Meletios Servos, Germanos Filippas, Theofanis Danias, Vissarion Katohianos and many more. It was severely damaged during the 2003 earthquake and it is not open to guests.

Person in charge: Priest Panagiotis Lazaris, vicar of Alexandros (tel: 2645061284 and 6978856752)

Monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos at the Prairie of Karya

Η Ιερά Μονή του Αγίου Ιωάννη στο λιβάδι της Καρυάς - Φώτο: Ι.Μ.Λ.Ι

Monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos at the Prairie of Karya

The monastery of Agios Ioannis at the prairie of Karya – Photograph: Bishopric of Lefkada and Ithaca

It is located at the northeast part of the meadow of Karya. It was founded in 1605 and for some time it was the centre of spiritual, financial and social life of the island. It was the richest monastery during the 19th century and could financially support a high school in the town of Lefkada, under the direction of the great teacher Athanasios Psalidas. In its temple there are wall paintings from the 18th century. It was abandoned in 1930 and its lands were distributed to landless peasants.

In 1996 the church was cleaned and opened again. Then the church was restored by the Municipality of Karya. Since 2010 construction works have been conducted in the church to complete the renovation. In the centre of the church there is the grave of a warlord from Acarnania, Simon Gkikas (Mpouas), who had reconstructed the monastery, according to tradition.

Person in charge: Oeconomus Panogiorgos Ktenas (tel: 2645041155 and 6936422172)

Monastery of Kokkini Ekklisia (Red Church) in Platystoma

Το καθολικό της Ιεράς Μονής της Κόκκινης Εκκλησιάς

The central church of the monastery of Kokkini Ekklisia

It is located on the mountain of Skari, just outside the village of Platystoma. The first small temple was built in 1478 with red clay and that is why it was named Red Church. It is dedicated to the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was an important religious centre of the island with a large land property. During the years of the Ottoman Rule it was used as an operating base by Greek fighters.

Person in charge: Priest Spyridon Aivasiliotis, vicar of Platystoma (tel: 2682029739 and 6977153119)

Monastery of Asomaton (Archangel Michael) in Vafkeri

asomatoi_new

The church of the monastery of Asomaton in Vafkeri

It is found at a rural location southeast of the village of Vafkeri. It was founded in the 16th century by a wealthy family from Vafkeri. It was a rich monastery that prospered during the 18th century. Some of its important wall painting from the 16th and the 17th century are still preserved.

Person in charge: Priest Spyridon Aivasiliotis, vicar of Vafkeri (tel: 2682029739 and 6977153119)

Monastery of Agios Dimitrios at Grava (Haradiatika)

It is located above the village of Haradiatika, with an amazing view of Prigkiponisia, the small islands between Lefkada and Aetoloacarnania. It was founded in the 17th century and had significant land property, until the 1950s when its last fields were expropriated. The contemporary church was built in the 20th century and has been renovated because the last one had been destroyed by an earthquake.

Person in charge: Oeconomus Dimitrios Katopodis, vicar of Haradiatika (tel: 2645095087 and 6994548754

Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos at Rodaki

Ιερά Μονή Αγίου Ιωάννη στο Ροδάκι

Monastery of Agios Ioannis at Rodaki

It is found at the location of Rodaki, south of the village Vournikas. It was founded in 1654. The place was excavated in 1905 by Wilhelm Dörpfeld and, according to his findings, the church had been built on the floor of an ancient Doric temple of the 5th or the 6th century BC, dedicated to an unknown female deity. This temple was bigger than the one of Hephaestus at the Ancient Agora of Athens or the one of Poseidon in Sounio and was functioning until the Roman Age. It is speculated that the female deity was Demeter (Ceres).

A traditional belief claims that if a childless couple succeeds in sticking a small coin on Saint John’s icon during the liturgy, they will soon have a baby boy. That it was the local folkloric tradition names Agios Ioannis at Rodaki as “Sernikaris” (the one that has to do with masculinity).

The Christian church has been built with many pieces that came from the ancient temple. The Holy Table and the Table of Oblation stand on capitals from the ancient temple. Within the altar there are also frescos of exquisite art from the mid 17th century and the 18th century that have been preserved in a satisfactory condition.

Person in charge: Priest Dimitrios Housos, vicar of Vournikas (tel: 2645039252 and 6973293703)

Monastery of Agios Georgios in Marantohori

It is located west of Marantohori, a village of southern Lefkada. The first references about the cloister date back in the late 16th and the early 17th century. Although it was not a big monastery, it was very rich with many estates. The originally small and all painted temple was expanded, renovated and repainted with religious frescos in 1715.

In 1922 the temple became a place of quarantine for the infected with smallpox. After the epidemic was over, the walls were hammered and whitewashed in order to be purified. Due to this fact, only a few of the wall paintings can be seen today. There is also a part of the wooden iconostasis preserved, which was made in the mid 18th century, and there are also some icons of exquisite art, made in the 17th century. Nowadays the church functions regularly.

Person in charge: Priest Dimitrios Housos, vicar of Marantohori (tel: 2645039252 and 6973293703).

Monastery of Agios Nikolaos at Milianata in Nikoli

Το εκκλησάκι του Αγίου Νικολάου στο Νικολή

The small church of Agios Nikolaos in Nikoli

It is a small monastery at the location of Milianata in Nikoli, a village of south-western Lefkada. It was founded probably in the 16th century and its temple has been reconstructed. Its icons are artworks of Mpetzos and Sideris (between the 18th and the 20th century). It had been a great spiritual centre for the surrounding villages and possessed a big land estate.

Person in charge: Oeconomus Thomas Kontopyrgias, vicar of Nikoli (tel: 2645033196).

Monastery of Agios Kirykos in Athani

agios kirikos_new

It is located in the last village of the south-western side of the island, on the road to the beach Gialos. It was built during the time of the Ottoman Rule at the site of an ancient temple that was dedicated to an unknown deity. It was a rather small monastery with no particular financial power. The things that are still preserved are a part of the fresco on the eastern wall and the old icon that illustrates the confession and the martyrdom of Saint Kirykos in front of the ruler and his mother, Saint Ioulitti.

It was destroyed several times by earthquakes. In 1914 the old church was ruined by an earthquake and a new one was built in the 1980s by the vicar of Athani, father Gerasimos Aravanis. There are archaeological excavations taking place at the yard of the monastery.

Person in charge: Priest Konstantinos Katopodis, vicar of Athani (tel: 2645033151 and 6973243265).

Churches in the town

The temples of the town of Lefkada are of particular architectural interest and have been recognised as important religious monuments. Most of them are located at the centre of the old town, the market street, the central square and the small streets. However, there are also churches and country chapels of historical and cultural value on the outskirts of Lefkada.

Cathedral church of Evaggelistria

Ι.Ν. Ευαγγελιστρίας

Church of Evaggelistria

It is the seat of the Bishop of Lefkada and Ithaca. It is located near the centre of the town, behind the General Hospital. It was built in 1689 and it was ruined several times by earthquakes and assumed its present form in 1886. It is worth noticing the neoclassical iconostasis with icons of Renaissance art by Stampoglis and Gazis.

The formal ceremonies and doxologies take place at the cathedral church. The Bishop officiates the major services of Christmas, Epiphany, Maundy Thursday and Easter. The church celebrates on the 25th of March.

Church of Agii Anargyri

Ιερός Ναός Αγίων Αναργύρων

Church of Agii Anargyri

It is located at the square of “Marka”, near the market street and the temple of “Panagia Ksenon” (Mother Mary of Foreigners). It was built in 1725 and assumed its present size in 1837. Its decoration has been preserved according to the tradition. In general, it is a typical sample of a Lefkadian church. It has a high wood carved iconostasis, significant post-Byzantine icons made by Devaris and renaissance paintings made by Gazis.

Church of Genesion Theotokou (Panagia Ksenon)

Παναγία των Ξένων

A view of the church of “Panagia Ksenon”

It is located at the square of “Marka”, near the central market street. The original small church was built in 1718. In 1785 it was rebuilt from scratch because it had been destroyed by an earthquake and it assumed its present dimensions in 1836. It was again renovated after 2003. The parish has been running a Youth Centre since 1988.

It took the name “Panagia Ksenon” (Mother Mary of Foreigners) because it was the parish where all the civil servants who came from other places used to enlist. Other islands of the Ionian Sea also follow the custom of having a “Panagia Ksenon” for their foreigners.

Church of Agia Paraskevi

It is found within the small streets, west of the town’s market street, near the church of “Panagia Ksenon”. It is actually a chapel that belongs to the latter church. The original church, dedicated to Agia Paraskevi, had been built in the 16th century within the castle of Santa Maura. But this church was demolished and a new one was built in 1715 at the town of Lefkada, which was then called Amaxiki. After many reconstructions, it assumed its final form in 1970.

Inside the temple there are many parts of the relics of Saint Paraskevi, which were brought there by the refugee priest from Samsun in Pontus, father Dimitrios Thomatzidis. The icon of Saint Paraskevi was painted by the Lefkadian master iconographer Nikolaos Papanelopoulos. There is also the baptismal font in which Lafcadio Hearn, the national poet of Japan, was christened.

The Youth Centre of the parish is located across the church.

Church of Isodia Theotokou

Ι.Ν. Εισοδείων της Θεοτόκου

Church of Isodia Theotokou

It is located on the central market street of the town and it is a chapel of the Cathedral church of Evaggelistria. It was constructed in 1720 and it is a typical example of Lefkadian architecture, because it has a high baroque iconostasis with renaissance paintings and post-Byzantine icons by Roussos, Devaris, Kampisos-Mpelos, Stampoglis and Ourania Gazi. Its bell tower is particularly impressive.

Church of Agios Minas

Εξωτερική άποψη του Ιερού Ναού Αγίου Μηνά

An exterior vies of the church of Agios Minas

It is located at the southern entrance of the central market street of the town. It was built in 1707, after a miracle performed by Saints Minas, Viktor and Vincent during the earthquake of 1704. The temple is dedicated to these three saints. It is an impressive temple with a baroque wood carved iconostasis covered with gold leaves and icons of post-Byzantine style by Kontarinis. The original icons of the ceiling had been painted by Doxaras and Koutouzis but after a fire in 1977 they were destroyed and replaced by replicas. It also has a characteristic iron bell tower.

Church of Agios Nikolaos

Ι.Ν. Αγίου Νικολάου

The church of Agios Nikolaos – Photograph by Thomas Svoronos

It is located just a few metres away from the market street, across the historical mansion of the Zampelis family. It was built in 1687 and after many reconstructions it took its present form in 1830. It has impressive entrances and windows, a beautiful baroque iconostasis and it is decorated with works of Ventouris and Roussos.

Church of Agios Dimitrios

Άγιος Δημήτριος

The church of Agios Dimitrios

It is located at the square of Panos Giannoulis, at the neighbourhood of “Psareika”, east of the market street and it is a chapel of the parish church of Agios Nikolaos. It was built in 1688 and it had been a metochion of “Kokkini Ekklisia” (Red Church) at Platystoma. The paintings that ornament the church are works of Doxaras while the iconostasis was made by Prosalentis.

Church of Pantokrator

Ι.Ν. Παντοκράτορος

The church of Pantokrator

It is located on the central market street of the town. It belongs to the families of Valaoritis and Stavros and was built in 1700. After many renovations it assumed its present dimensions in 1830. At its garden, behind the temple, there are the graves of Aristotelis Valaoritis and many other distinguished Lefkadians.

Church of Agios Haralampos

It is found at “Piso Molos” (Back Harbour), east of the market street and it is a chapel of the parish church of Agii Anargyri. It was built in 1743 and it was recently reconstructed after 2013.

Church of Agios Georgios

It is located east of the market street, near the town’s central square and it is a chapel of the parish church of Agios Nikolaos. It was built either in 1728, according to Soldatos, or in 1741, according to Maheras. It assumed its present form in 1836. The wood carved iconostasis is a work of Athiniotis from 1843 and most of the paintings were made by Roussos.

Church of Agios Spyridon

It is located at the town’s central square. It was built in 1685 but was ruined many times by earthquakes. It was reconstructed in 1836, when it assumed its present dimensions.

Church of Agios Ioannis Theologos

It is found east of the central square and it is a chapel of the parish church of Agios Nikolaos.

Church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos

It is located at the neighbourhood of “Padreika”, near the eastern coast of the town. It was built in 1750.

Church of Agios Vasilios

It is located at the neighbourhood of “Pouliou” and it is a chapel of the church of Agii Anargyri. It was built in 1736 and was originally dedicated to the Three Holy Hierarchs. It took its present form after many reconstructions in 1915.

Church of Agios Panteleimon

Ι. Ναός Αγίου Παντελεήμονος

It is found just outside the historical centre of the town, in the beginning of the Pefaneromenis Street towards Fryni. It was built in 1730 and was reconstructed many times. The present day church was built anew in 1992. It is a chapel of the parish church of Panagia “Ksenon”.

Church of Agios Vissarion

Ι. Ναός Αγίου Βησσαρίωνος

It is situated at the south-eastern neighbourhood of the town called “Agia Kara” and it is a metochion of the monastery of Faneromeni. Its building had to do with the miracle of Saint Vissarion that eradicated the plague in 1743, when the saint’s relic skull was transferred from Epirus and carried around the city. The temple was built one year after the miracle.

Church of Agios Antonios

Ι. Ν. Αγίου Αντωνίου

It is located behind the Courthouse, west of the town, and is nowadays ruined. It was built in 1717 and assumed its final form in 1841. It collapsed during the earthquake of 1948 and now only a part of its Sanctuary is visible.

Other newer churches of the town are the ones of “Tris Ierarhes” (Three Hierarchs, next to the Episcopal Palace), Agios Eleftherios (on the premises of the General Hospital), Agios Nektarios (on the premises of the Old People’s Home) and Taxiarhes (built in 1880, at the town’s cemetery).

Churches on the outskirts

Church of Agios Nikolaos (on the islet)

Photo: Thomas Svoronos

It is located on a small islet northeast of the island, at the bay of Demata, where the Lefkadian poet Angelos Sikelianos dwelt for a long period of time. It was where he got the inspiration to write his masterpiece poem “Alafroiskiotos”. It is believed that there had been a shrine of Aenias Aphrodite on the site. The church must have been built before 1100 and after the pass of the relics of Saint Nicholas through the island in 1087. You can visit it only on the first Sunday after the 10th of May when the church celebrates

Church of Santa Maura

Η Αγία Μαύρα στο ομώνυμο κάστρο της Λευκάδας

The iconostasis of the church of Santa Maura inside the homonymous castle of Lefkada

It is located inside the homonymous castle, at the entrance of the island. Santa Maura gave her name not only to the town-castle but also to the whole island during the time of the Frankish Rule. The worship of Saint Maura was bought on the island by the Angevin Franks who came from the homonymous town of present day France. The original temple was built in 1462 by Helena Palaiologina but was utterly ruined in 1810 during the siege of the island by the English. The present day small church that is also dedicated to Saint Timothy was built in 1883 and is nowadays a chapel of the cathedral church of Evaggelistria.

Church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos Antzousis

agios ioannis

It is found west of the town, at the end of the homonymous beach, where there was a port in the ancient years. It is the oldest Christian Orthodox site on the island due to the fact that Apostle Paul went through there in AD 65 and spoke for the very first time to the people of Lefkada. The church was built or reconstructed within the rock by the Angevin Franks who gave their name to the church in the 14th century.

Church of Panagia Vlaherna

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It is found on the prairie of Lefkada, within the Venetian olive grove. It was built in 1740. It is a historical monument of the island because this was the place where the Lefkadian members of “Filiki Eteria” (Society of Friends) took an oath to fight for the liberation of Greece on the Carnival Sunday of 1821. There is a relevant plaque with the names of the warlords. The Gospel on which the vow was given is kept at the Ecclesiastical Museum of the monastery of Faneromeni.

Church of Agia Ekaterini

It is located on the meadow of Lefkada, near the settlement of Fryni. It was built in 1729.

Church of the Apostles Peter and Paul

The parish church of the settlement of Fryni.

Church of Agia Marina

It is found on the meadow of Lefkada. It was constructed in 1733.

Church of Agios Athanasios

The parish church of the settlement of Apolpena. It was built in 1720.

Church of Agia Paraskevi

It is a chapel upon the homonymous hill on which the settlement of Apolpena is built.

Church of Zoodohos Pigi

Ο Ιερός Ναός της Ζωοδόχου Πηγής

Church of Zoodohos Pigi

It is located south of the city, on the road to Nydri, at the location of “Megali Vrysi” (Great Fountain). Water used to stream from its foundations which supplied the town of Lefkada and the orchards of the region. It was built in 1735. Its iconostasis is quite impressive. It is a chapel that belongs to the church of “Panagia Ksenon”.

Church of Agios Georgios at the location of Perama in Kaligoni

Ι.Ν. Άγιος Γεώργιος στο Καλλιγόνι

Church of Agios Georgios in Kaligoni

It is found at the location of Perama in Kaligoni, a settlement southeast of the town. It was built during the years of the Tocci family Rule on the island (1362-1479). Nowadays it is ruined.

There are many other chapels on the outskirts of the town, especially on the meadow. Some of them are ruined and some are private.

Churches in the villages

There are many churches in all the villages of Lefkada. It was very customary for every family or every neighbourhood to have its own chapel. This is the reason why you will find two or three churches in each village and several scattered chapels around it.

Here are some proposals for visits to the churches and chapels of the villages that are of significant interest, besides, of course, the parish churches.

Villages of eastern Lefkada

Karyotes

Ιερός Ναός Αγίου Παντελεήμονα στις αλυκές Καρυωτών

The church of Agios Panteleimon at the Saltpans of Karyotes

(Parish church of Taxiarhes)

In the old village of Karyotes there are chapels like the one of Agios Nikolaos with an exquisite view of the Saltpans, the one of Agios Georgios, now ruined, and the one of Taxiarhes.

It is also worth visiting the chapel of Agios Panteleimon at the Saltpans of Alexandros that was built during the time of the English Rules and served the needs of the saltpans’ workers.

Lygia – Katouna

Ο ενοριακός ναός της Κοίμησης της Θεοτόκου στην Κατούνα

The parish church of Kimisi Theotokou in Katouna

(Parish church of Kimisi Theotokou in Katouna and of Dodeka Apostoli (Twelve Apostles) in Lygia). The temples of Kimisi Theotokou and Agios Varvaros in Katouna are of particular architectural beauty.

Nikiana – Alexandros

(Parishes churches of Agios Spyridon in Alexandros and of Metamorfosi Sotiros in Nikiana)

The small church of Metamorfosi Sotiros in Nikiana is of historical importance. This was the place where, in 1807, the Greek fighters gathered to repel the attacks of Ali Pasha of Ioannina. The first oath of the Greek Revolution was taken there by Kapodistrias, Kolokotronis and many more. Furthermore, excavations had been conducted by Wilhelm Dörpfeld at the site and the findings indicated the presence of an ancient shrine.

In Alexandros and the broader region of the mountain Skari there are tens of scattered small churches. Many of them are now abandoned. Due to this fact the mountain of Skari is also called “Mount Athos of Lefkada”. There are also the monasteries of Agii Pateres and of Agios Georgios.

You should visit the church of Agios Dimitrios that was built in 1450 in Alexandros, the church of Kimisi Theotokou, built in 1729, also in Alexandros, with paintings by the great iconographers of the time, Kampisos-Mpelos, Ventouras and Roussos. The icon of the Dormition of the Mother of God was said to have been found on the beach, brought there by the waves. You should also visit the church of Agios Nikolaos in Kolyvata, built in 1700. Its bell tower was designed by the woodcarver Ioannis Vrettos (Melenios) The iconostasis, a work of 1874, was made by Metsikov and the icons were painted by Sideris. Finally, do not forget to visit the church of Agios Spyridon, in Alexandros, that was built in 1410.

Perigiali – Platystoma – Nydri

(Parish churches of Evaggelistria in Perigiali, of Kimisi Theotokou in Nydri. Of Agia Paraskevi in Platystoma, where there is also the monastery of “Kokkini Ekklisia” (Red Church))

The small church of Agii Anargyri is of special interest. It is located near the beach, at a part of the modern tourist resort that still preserves its traditional characteristics.

Paleokatouna – Neohori

(Parish churches of Isodia Theotokou in Neohori and of Agios Hristoforos in Paleokatouna)

It is worth visiting the old settlement of Neohori because all of its churches are of special interest, namely the one of Evaggelistria with wall paintings from the 18th century, the one of Agios Dimitrios, and the picturesque chapel of Agios Georgios with a great view.

Haradiatika – Alatro

Άποψη από το εσωτερικού του Ι.Ν. του Αγίου Ιωάννη του Προδρόμου (Ριγανά) στο Άλατρο

An interior view of the church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (Riganas) in Alatro

(Parish churches of Ypapanti, next to the plane tree and the spring at the almost abandoned but still beautiful village of Alatro and of Agios Nikolaos in Haradiatika, where there is also the monastery of Agios Dimitrios at the site “Grava”)

Alatro, a now abandoned settlement, was said to have had tens of churches. The ones still standing are the churches of Analipsi, built during the years of the Ottoman Rule with wall paintings, and the church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos “Riganas”, with well preserved frescos from the 17th century and a fantastic view of the island’s eastern side. In Haradiatika it is worth visiting the church of Agios Gerasimos that was built in 1761, at an idyllic location next to the torrent that begins from Alatro and has a wooden iconostasis made in 1890.

Vlyho – Geni

(Parish church of Agios Spyridon)

At the end of the peninsula across Nydri, next to Geni, there is the small church of Agia Kyriaki, built upon a rock, right next to the location where the saint’s icon was found.

It is said that the seamen who were sailing between Nydri and the peninsula, where the church is nowadays standing, were seeing a small light inside the cave of the rock and could not explain it. Later on, the owner of the land found a small icon of Agia Kyriaki within the cave and decided to build a chapel dedicated to the saint, using big stones, sand and quicklime.

Katohori

(Parish church of Agios Dimitrios, with significant frescos)

Katohori has many important churches. Apart from the parish church, it is worth visiting the church of Agios Haralampos, with well preserved wall paintings, the one of Taxiarhes and the chapel Of Agios Nikolaos, across the village that still has some of its frescos.

Poros

(Parish church of Agia Marina)

Visit the church of Agios Nikolaos above the village with an amazing view of the bay of Mikrogialos and the chapel of Analipsi that still preserves its wall paintings although the building is ruined.

Fterno

(Parish church of Agios Nikolaos)

Look for the chapels of Profitis Ilias and Agios Georgios and Panagia at Faos with amazing wall paintings.

Villages of Southern Lefkada

koimisi_marantochori_new

Parish church of Kimisi Theotokou in Marantohori

Evgiros – Syvota

(Parish church of Agios Vasilios)

The cemetery church of Kimisi Theotokou, above the village of Evgiros, is a charming small temple with a view that reaches the lighthouse of Lefkatas.

Marantohori

(Parish church of Kimisi Theotokou)

There is also the cloister of Agios Georgios. On the upper part of the village you can visit its three beautiful churches, the parish church, the one of Taxiarhes and the one of Agios Nikolaos.

Kontarena

(Parish church of Kimisi Theotokou, the biggest church in a village on the whole island of Lefkada)

You can also visit the church of Agios Spyridon with an iconostasis made by Prosalentis.

Vournikas

(Parish church of Agios Stefanos. Outside the village there is the monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos at the location Rodaki)

In the village there is a very old (late 11th – early 12th century) temple of particular value, with wall paintings form various time periods, namely the church of Agios Ioannis of Karaviades, that is worth visiting. There is also the small country chapel of Agios Savvas, for the ones who like hiking, because the church is located in a small cave above the village.

Syvros

(Parish church of Agios Ioannis Hrysostomos)

The church of Genisi Theotokou near the springs of Kerasia is really beautiful and there is also the church of Kimisi Theotokou or “Panagia sto Lithari” (Mother Mary on the Rock) because it is built on a rock at the central square of the village.

Agios Ilias

(Parish church of Agios Athanasios)

Above the village, on the road to the plateau of Agios Donatos, there is the beautiful chapel of Agia Paraskevi, which is also dedicated to Agios Panteleimon. It is said that the icon of Agia Paraskevi was found in the cave of Karouhas in Syvros and that the saint herself chose the location of her church.

Vasiliki

(Parish church of Kimisi Theotokou)

On your walk towards the neighbourhood of Kolyvata you will meet the church of Agios Gerasimos.

Agios Petros

(Parish church of Agios Athanasios)

There are many important churches in the broader region of Agios Petros, like Agii Apostoli, built in the 19th century upon the ruins of an older Catholic church, one of the few on the island, the cemetery church of the village, namely Agios Ioannis Prodromos at the location “Perivolia”, where there used to a monastery founded during the years of the Ottoman Rule. In Roupakias, an old settlement to the east of Agios Petros, there is the notable temple of Agios Georgios.

There is also the chapel of Panagia Eleousa on the road to Komilio that celebrates on the 15th of August. In the old days there was a big feast that the young people used to attend riding decorated horses. After the end of the Mass they used to race to the village.

Villages of western Lefkada

Athani

(Parish church of Kimisi Theotokou. There you can also find the convent of Agios Nikolaos at Nira, one of the two functioning abbeys of the island, and the monastery of Agios Kirykos)

A very beautiful small church is found at the location “Rahi” across from the village. It is dedicated to “Panagia Rahiotissa” (Mother Mary of Rahi).

Dragano

(Parish church of Agios Vasilios)

In Dragano you should visit the chapel of Agios Anatolios and the church of Ypapanti Kyriou with its magnificent bell tower at “Panohori” (Upper Village).

Komilio

(Parish church of Agia Marina)

Hortata:

(Parish church of Agios Ioannis Hrysostomos)

There more churches in the village, like Agia Ekaterini to the east, Agii Theodori in the abandoned neighbourhood of Vlantata and the remains of Agii Pente with signs of wall paintings.

Villages of Damiliani

Manasi – Nikoli – Agios Vasilios

(Parish church of Agios Georgios in Nikoli, where there is also the old monastery of Agios Nikolaos at Milianata)

This group of small villages, according to different sources, used to include Hortata or Roupakias and was mockingly called the United States of Lefkada by the residents of the island. You should visit the church of Agios Vasilios in the homonymous village.

Kalamitsi

(Parish church of Kimisi Theotokou)

In Kalamitsi you should visit the old monastery of “Panagia stous Kipous” (Mother Mary at the Gardens) and the windmills located nearby.

Exanthia

(Parish church of Agios Stefanos with a beautiful bell tower built in 1859 and a iconostasis made in 1897)

Some of the beautiful small churches worth visiting are the one of Panagia in “Palio Horio” (Old Village), located above Exanthia, the one of Panagia in Haramolata and the chapel of Agios Georgios.

Drymonas

(Parish church of Agios Ioannis Hrysostomos from the 18th century)

Agios Nikitas

(Parish church of Agios Nikitas)

The church must have been built before the founding of the settlement and gave its name to the village. High above the village there is the beautiful little church of Agia Anna with an amazing view of the blue of the West.

Tsoukalades

(Parish church of Isodia Theotokou)

At the centre of the village there is the temple of Agia Anastasia Romea, at a square with wells, and on a hill above the village there is the beautiful chapel of Agios Georgios, with preserved wall paintings and an amazing view.

Villages of central Lefkada

agios donatos_new

The chapel of Agios Donatos on the plateau of Egklouvi

Sfakiotes

It is a region that includes the villages of Asprogerakata, Kavalos, Lazarata, Pinakohori and Spanohori.

(Parish churches of Agios Ioannis Hrysostomos in Asprogerakata, Agios Nikolaos in Kavalos built in the 17th century with icons of Gazis, from 1876 to 1883, and iconostasis of Prosalentis, Agios Spyridon built in the 18th century with icons of Sideris and an imposing three-storied bell tower in Lazarata, Agios Georgios in Pinakohori and Taxiarhes in Spanohori)

You should make a stop at the square of Fryas, with the wells and the church of Analipsi, in Asprogerakata.

Check out also the chapel of Pantokrator, with the ruined windmill of Kospetos in Kavalos. In Spanohori there are the old monastery of Panagia Episkopi and the chapels of Agios Stefanos within a cave and of Profitis Ilias, on hills above the village, with an amazing view.

Pigadisani

(Parish church of Agii Anargyri)

Karya

(Parish church of Agios Spyridon from the 19th century, with a famous iconostasis made by Vrettos in 1925 and a tall bell tower with a clock and the church of Agia Paraskevi with icons made by Patsaras in 1862)

Do not forget to visit the abandoned church of Agios Athanasios at the location “Feggaraki” and the chapels of Agios Andreas and Agios Antonios in the old settlement of Rekatsinata and the beautiful country chapel of Agios Konstantinos, Agia Eleni and Mother Mary at “Dafnoplagia”.

Egklouvi

(Parish church of Agios Georgios, Dimitrios and Haralampos. Furthermore, east of the village there is the old monastery of Agios Nikolaos ate the location “Thermata”)

At the plateau with the lentils’ fields, above Egklouvi, there is the church of Agios Donatos that is celebrated on the 6th of August. The Feast of Lentils is organised at the area of the wells in front of the church. You should also visit the chapel of Prophitis Ilias that was built in 1869 to honour the patron saint of the village, with a breathtaking view. Furthermore, you should visit the cemetery church of the village called “Kimisi Theotokou”, with icons made by Sideris (from 1883 to 1885) and an iconostasis made by Prosalentis in 1871.

Vafkeri

(Parish church of Agios Ioannis Hrysostomos at the central square with the plane trees)

East of the village there is the old monastery of Asomaton.

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