Monasteries and Churches
Kythira Island is a religious island with very historical
monasteries and churches. Know more about.
It is the best preserved church in the Byzantine capital of the island, the town of Saint Demetrios, nowadays called the castle-town of Paliochora. It is a cruciform church with an octagonal dome, without a narthex and perfect architectural dimensions. It has a three-fold sanctum with semi-cylindrical arches. It was built in the 13th century […]
The small church of Agia Elesa is located on the steep cliffs, above the village of Livadi, at 433 meters. Saint Elesa’s martyrdom happened in this mountain. Saint Elesa was the daughter of Helladios, a rich lord from the Peloponnese. Her mother was a christian, and she baptized Elesa despite her father’s objections. She raised […]
The church Agia Moni is located on the east side of Kythira, on the mountain range above Diakofti. In September 23rd, 1767 a shepherd named Viaros found an icon of the Virgin Mary and Saint George in a cloth bearing the inscription “The Abbey of all hope”. A lightning struck the area and everything but the […]
The abbey of Agioi Anargyroi (better known as Agios Kosmas) is in Xeroulaki, south of the village of Drymonas and east of an older abbey. The churchyard is connected to an older part of the abbey, in which one can see the cells, the old ledger and a tower with its battlements. The new church […]
One of the most important Byzantine churches in Kythira as well as in the whole of Greece. It is in the center of the village of Livadi. There are five different phases of construction. According to experts, the church was built sometime between the 9th and 10th centuries. In its present form, it is a cruciform church […]
Agios Dimitrios in Pourko
The church is on the Pourko settlement, between the village of Livadi and the Church of Agia Elesa. It is a complex of four temples, parallel and intersect on an axis, so they form a quadrilateral, with the entrance on the western side. The orientation is right only in the south and northeastern church, while […]
Agios Giorgis of Vouno
Vouno is located above the bay of Agios Nikolaos and the settlement of Avlemonas and has been historically a place of worship. There are two Byzantine churches here. The eastern one is dedicated to Saint George; it is a simple, single-space vaulted temple with a 7th century mosaic floor. The mosaic depicts a hunting scene, […]
Agios Ioannis en Krimno (Saint-John on the cliff)
The church of Agios Ioannis en Krimno is in a cave north of Kapsali, in a steep slope, at a 60 meter altitude. It has a single room, which is divided by an artificial wall. The first section is 7-meter long, 3-meter wide and 2,5-meter high. The altar of Agios Ioannis o Prodromos was located […]
Agios Nikolaos Krasas
The chapel of Agios Nikolaos Krasas is located on in the southwest of the Church of Myrtidiotissa in Mavros Vrachos, close to the rocky shore. According to tradition, in 1619, a captain named Kasimatis, was sailing with his ship full of wine near the western coast of the island. He was threatened by a storm. […]
A Byzantine church close to the village of Potamos. It is of single-space type, with a Kythira-style dome (found only in Kythira). The semi-spherical dome sits on a square building with two niches on the eastern side. There is no adornment outside. Two layers of hagiographies (11th – 13th centuries) have been preserved. There are many […]
Agios Panteleimone in Paleopoli
This is a very small church with a single space and a tiled roof. An arch from a paleo-Christian basilica destroyed long ago is still kept inside. Agios Panteleimonne is currently being restored by the 1st Department of Byzantine Antiquities.
The church is located in the village of Araioi. It is a cruciform church, with no narthex. It has a threefold sanctum with half-cylindrical arches. The octagonal dome and the winged altarpiece were built later. It is dated to the 11th or 12th century, built by craftsmen from Monemvasia. Its architectural design is similar to […]
Agios Theodoros is the protector of Kythera. He was born in Koroni (southern Peloponnese) around the end of the 9th century. He grew up in Nauplie where he married and had two children. However, his greatest wish was to become a monk. He visited Rome and later on Monemvasia (a medieval citadel in the southeastern part […]
Cathedral Church of Estavromenos
The Cathedral Church of Estavromenos was built in 1660 by Filotheos Darmaros the bishop of Kythira. According to written testimonies, there was a church in this spot in the past. In the church’s entrance, there is an inscription bearing the coat of arms of the Darmaros family. Bishop Darmaros also built the Church of Panagia Myrtidiotissa […]
It is an old abbey, founded in the middle of the 15th century. Maria Venieri, member of the Venetian noble Venieri family, fell in love with a Venetian officer. After they were engaged, Venice went to war and the officer was called to fullfil his duty. A lot of time passed and the two lovers […]
Panagia Myrtidiotissa and Panagia Orfani at the Castle of Chora
The imposing church of the Castle of Chora is called Panagia Myrtidiotissa and was built in 1580 by the Venetians. It was a Catholic temple initially dedicated to the “Virgin of the Latin”. In 1806 it was transformed into an orthodox church devoted to Panagia Myrtidiotissa. The icon of Myrtidiotissa was kept in the protected […]
The sanctuary of Panagia Myrtidiotissa harbors the greatest relic of Kythira. The miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary was found here. The icon was called Myrtidiotissa in reference to the myrtles growing in the area. It is the symbol of the orthodox faith for thousands of people in Kythira. The icon of Myrtidiotissa is treasured by […]
Panagia Orfani of Mylopotamos
The church of Panagia Orfani is made of a temple inside a cave with an area of 40 square meters and five cells. The church belonged to the Darmaros family. In the cave’s western side there is an opening, through which the cave is extended. In this “extension” a small icon of Panagia Eleousa, also […]
Temples and Monasteries
There are almost three hundred Byzantine, post-Byzantine and newer churches on the island. Here are the most important. If you would like to visit Byzantine churches and post-Byzantine churches, contact the Byzantine Museum or the Archaeological Museum and ask them to for information. It is also worthwhile to trust a guide with relevant knowledge.
The most important pilgrimage of the island is that of Panagia Myrtidiotissa. The icon of Panagia is the most precious religious heirloom of Kythira. Other pilgrimages are Agia Moni, Agios Ioannis in Kremnos, Agios Elessas and Monastery of Saint Theodorou.
The most important Byzantine temples are Agios Georgios in the Mountain, above Avlemonas, Agios Andreas Church in Livadi, Agios Dimitrios in Purko, Agios Petros in Araios, Agios Nikon in Potamos, Agios Vlassis near the airport and the Agia Varvara in Paleochora.
Several important Byzantine churches are still located in the small ruined castle town of Paliohora (Agios Dimitrios), at the fortress of Kato Chora Mylopotamos, in the wider area of the settlement of Mitata and at the castle of Chora Kythira.
In many of the Byzantine churches, hagiographies of exceptional style are preserved. In Agios Giorgis there is a mosaic with various decorative themes, hunting scenes and Hellenistic meanders. Based on the mosaic we can date the temple to around the 7th century AD.
Despite the Venetian occupation of Kythira for six centuries, Catholicism was not imposed on the inhabitants of the island. The Orthodox Christian faith was preserved and the only Catholic church was that of the Virgin of the Latins in the castle of Chora, which after the end of Venetian domination turned into an Orthodox church dedicated to Panagia Myrtidiotissa.
The younger temples of Kythera have more folklore interest, are used for the ecclesiastics of the inhabitants and are managed by the Holy Metropolis of Kythira and Antikythera.
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