Churches - Monasteries
Paros is, without a doubt, one of the main places of interest for enthusiasts of Byzantine and post-Byzantine architecture. It is a top destination in the Cyclades with respect to churches and monasteries, which attract the attention of all visitors, even those who didn't come to the island to see religious monuments. The Ekatontapiliani, also known as the Hagia Sophia of the Aegean, is an excellent example of Byzantine architecture, of which there are very few in the Greek islands. There are, however, other monuments whose grandeur and stature is directly related to the Parian marble used to construct it. Paros boasts 450 churches in total, both in the villages and the countryside, and over 30 monasteries, only five of which are in operation today.
Agairia - Aliki
The Church of Agios Georgios, Agairia Agios Georgios was the old parish church of the village, a single-aisle basilica with a vaulted narthex and arched bell tower above the entrance. The church has an arched gate and carved, wooden icon screen. Agios Georgios is the magnificent new parish church of Agairia, which was completed in 1962, a cruciform with a dome and two bell towers, one with a clock. Thirteen steps lead up to the gate, with three arches, supported by four columns. Church of Agios Nikolaos, Aliki The chapel of Agios Nikolaos is located in the village of Aliki, near the sea and surrounded by sea trees. It has one aisle, an octagonal dome and single-arch bell tower. The interior features a lightly carved, wooden icon screen and marble floors. Monastery of Agion Theodoron, near Agairia The Monastery of Agion Theodoron is located down the hill leading to Agious Pantes, just above Aspro Chorio. It is an old monastery, inhabited by old calendar nuns. The inner courtyard of the castle-like monastery is dominated by a large cruciform church dedicated to Agious Theodorous, with a tiled roof and dome. Church of Agios Panteleimonas and Agios Christos, Aliki Monastery of Ai Yiannis Spiliotis in Trypiti Monastery of Agios Charalampos
The Temple of Panagia Ekatontapiliani
According to legend, Agia Eleni encountered a storm off the coast of Paros on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land to find the Holy Cross. She disembarked on the island at a small church. There, she made a vow to Panagia to build a large church in her name if she remained unharmed though the act of God and found the Holy Cross. However, she was unable to fulfill her vow and her son, Constantine the Great, the first emperor of the Byzantine, eventually took up the task.
Panagia Ekatontapiliani is one of the most impressive temples in the Greek islands. The many gaps in the writings of historical sources referring to the exact year in which the church was built have raised debates among scholars. Nonetheless, Panagia Ekatontapiliani is an early Christian cruciform basilica, with many architectural elements added on with the passage of time. The first renovation of the church took place in the 6th century, by an architect named Ignatios, who was, according to legend, a disciple of the master that built Hagia Sophia. The old wooden roof was removed or destroyed by fire and the dome and other arched elements visible today were added.
The temple we see today has many Byzantine and post-Byzantine elements, and marble sections from ancient temples were used in the restorations and additions made through the years. The name Ekatontapiliani refers to the 100 gates of the church - 99 are visible and 1 remains hidden. The secondary name "Katapoliani" may refer to the fact that the church faces the ancient town.
The main church is only one component of the temple, which comprises the inner chapels of Agios Anargyros, Agios Filippos, Osia Theoktisti, the basilica of Agios Nikolaos, the church of Agia Theodosia and the chapel of Agios Dimitrios (outside the church), as well as the Baptistery and surrounding cells that also fortified the church.
The central section, the icon screen, features the holy icon of Panagia of Ekatontapiliani, most likely dating from the 17th century. The marble columns, the remaining marble elements that dominate the space, the small and simple dome with cherubs on its bases, the marble Ciborium that houses the altar and the throne, and the small amphitheater in the back corner are but a few of the elements that draw the eye in the main church.
The Baptistery, built in the 4th century, is one of the best preserved in the Orthodox east and should not be missed.
One of the largest festivals in the Aegean, with traditional music, food and dances is held in Parikia on 15 August, after the procession of the Epitaph of the Virgin Mary.
Agios Konstantinos and Evagelismos tis Theotokou
These two chapels are located side by side in Kastro, atop the ancient acropolis of Paros. They were built on the ruins of an ancient temple and are connected. Agios Konstantinos is a single-aisle church with an octagonal dome and arched bell tower. The interior features sculpted marble and the carved wooden icon screen is gilded. The neighboring Evagelismos tis Theotokou was built in 1260 AD by the Venetian Duke of Naxos and although its interior isn't as ornate as Agios Konstantinos, the ancient elements used to construct it can easily be discerned. The church has a domed roof and lateral narthex supported by columns.
Zoodochou Pigis, on the beach of Kato Yialo
Zoodochou Pigis is a single-aisle vaulted country church, located near the sea, 5 kilometers from Parikia near Marathi, on a steep slope covered in cypress trees. It has been renovated several times, most recently in the early 20th century. An arched bell tower stands above the entrance.
Taxiarchis, on the main market street
The domed church of Taxiarchis is supported by four interior columns. The facade and two marble columns at the entrance attract the attention of visitors. An arch-covered aisle added on to the church at a later date communicates with the main temple and is dedicated to Agia Paraskevi. An arched bell tower stands above the back wall of the church. The church also features many interesting frescoes and icons dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Agios Nikolaos, at the port
The church of Agios Nikolas was built opposite the port, near Ekatontapiliani. It is a small cruciform church with an octagonal dome and a small arched bell tower above the main entrance. The tomb of the owner is in an arched recess supported by columns, on the north side of the church, towards the road. The little church has been declared a listed religious monument.
Agia Anna, on the hill of Agia Anna
This small, arched church was built with marble elements from an ancient temple and has an arched bell tower above the door. A column from an ancient temple supports the altar. The church is located in the Kastro, in the Frankish tower.
The Monastery of Agion Anargyron, or Agios Charalampos, looks down on Parikia from the mountain top.
It was initially dedicated to Agios Anargyros, but today the monastery is devoted to Agios Charalampos. The domed, cruciform church was built in 1657. Sections of the monastery were renovated recently, funded by the Temple of Panagia of Ekatontapiliani, to which it belongs.
Monastery of Agios Arsenios (Christos of Dasos) at Petaloudes (Valley of the Butterflies)
The nunnery was built in the 17th century and is located 6 kilometers southwest of Parikia. The church is dedicated to the Metamorphosis of Christ, and the chapel of Agios Arsenios stands in the west courtyard, marking the grave of the Saint. The skull of the Saint is safeguarded in the monastery. Only the abbess and three nuns live at the monastery, keeping it open for the faithful to visit.
Monastery of Zoodochou Pigis, Loggovardas (men only)
Zoodochou Pigis was built in 1638 on the Parikia-Naoussa road and is the most significant monastery on Paros. It was a center of creative activity for important monks, who were engaged in iconography, writing and the arts in general, and houses a valuable library with rare editions and handwritten manuscripts. The cruciform church has one aisle and interesting frescoes.
In the past, the church played a very active philanthropic role. Father Filothoes Zervakos selflessly interceded during the occupation to arrange the release of 125 prisoners from the German camp. At that time, the monastery was inhabited by 30 monks.
Today, it only the abbot and seven monks reside at the monastery, who continue to operate the monastery's winery and ensure its renowned cellar remains stocked. The monastery is the destination for one of the largest pilgrimages in the Aegean. Women are not permitted to enter.
Monastery of Thapsana, Panagia Myrtidiotissa
Southwest of Parikia and northwest of Lefkes, the nunnery at Thapsana dates from 1936. The monastery was built on the ruins of an older monastery at the initiative of Filotheos Zervakos, the abbot of Loggovardas.
The monastery is currently inhabited by 40 nuns engaged in iconography and handiwork. The remains of sainted Father Filotheos are interned in the tomb beside the church of Agios Nektarios, who lived on the island and instructed the Father.
The monastery celebrates the Ypapanti tou Kyriou (2 February), Panagia Myrtodiotissa (24 September) and the anniversary of the death of Father Filotheos (8 May).
The Frankish Monastery is a church located very near Ekatontapiliani, which was founded by Franciscan monks in 1680, on the site of a small chapel dedicated to Archangel Michael.
The church belongs to the Catholic archdiocese of Naxos and Catholic mass is held there every Sunday in summer months.
The single-aisle basilica with an octagonal dome and arched bell tower was originally dedicated to Archangel Michael, but is currently devoted to St. Anthony of Padua. The buildings of the old monastery are now owned by Panagia Ekatontapiliani, and the independent, recently renovated church is in very good condition.
Monastery of Agios Antonios on Kefalos Hill
The Monastery of Agios Antonios was built at the top of the pointy Kefalos Hill near Marpissa. It was founded in 1597 and is one of the oldest monasteries on the island. It has been inhabited by monks since 1642, and in the 18th century it became the property of Blachias Nikolaou Mavrogeni and flourished financially. The monastery closed in 1834, due to the small number of monks in situ. The monastery takes its name from its church, which is impressive for its size, with two domes and Ionic columns supporting the altar.
In spring, the monastery is open to the public and tours are offered.
Monastery of Agios Georgios, Lagadas (1410)
An impressive monastery in Lagadas, dedicated to the memory of Agios Megalomartyros Georgios. The monastery hosts a large festival on the 2nd and 3rd of November, which is celebrated in the presence of the remains of the saint. It features many Aegean elements and is located on a slope a few kilometers above Aspro Chorio.
Church of Metamorphosis Sotiros
The church of Metamorphosis Sotiros is located near the windmills of Marpissa. It is a cruciform basilica with a dome, which was built in 1960. The festival for the church is celebrated on 6 August.
Evagelismos tis Theotokou, Marpissa
The little church of Evangelismos tis Theotokou is located in the center of Marpissa. It is a small, whitewashed Aegean architecture church. Because of its architecture and important icons, including the Evagelismos tis Theotokou that dates back to the late 18th or early 19th century, the church has been declared a historical listed monument.
Agios Georgios Thalassitis, Logaras
Agios Georgios Thalassitis is a small, single-aisle basilica, built between the 13th and 14th centuries. It is located between the villages of Piso Livadi and Logaras, and is one of the 4 Byzantine country churches still standing on Paros. The frescoes in the church are the oldest on Paros, but have unfortunately suffered massive and irreversible damage.
Church of Agios Ioannis and Panagia, Xehoriani
Church of Agios Nikolaos - Analipsi, Piso Livadi
Church of Agios Ioannis Theologos, Drios
Church of the Kimisis tis Theotokou Kimisis tis Theotokou is the third largest church on Paros and the parish church of Naoussa. Built on a hill overlooking the village, the church has a lovely view and boasts two large bell towers and a gable above the main gate. The church is a single-aisle basilica with a tiled dome and small narthex built in the 19th century, on the site of an older church. It has a large courtyard with pine trees, and 16 marble steps lead up to the main gate. The interior is distinguished by the carved marble icon screen, sculpted by Dimitrios Lyritis of Tinos, and the silver icons of Panagia and the Kimisi tis Theotokou. Church of Panagia Pantanassas
Theoskepasti in Protoria Theoskepasti is a small simple church, in the Kravga area of Protoria or Praitoria. The cube-shaped church has a tiered flat roof without a bell tower, a small cross above the entrance, and a small inner courtyard. Agios Nikolaos in the small port Built at the entrance to the small port of Naoussa, Agios Nikolaos faces the Venetian castle. It is a small, single-aisle basilica, with an arched bell tower above a secondary single space building. Small fishing boats moor directly in front of the church, and the small port is a lovely sight. Monastery of Agios Andreas (1648 AD) The Monastery of Agios Andreas is considered one of the greatest religious attractions of Paros because of its location and architecture. It was built in 1648 and the church was completed in 1711. To reach to monastery, visitors must travel southwest of Naoussa and turn left on a detour off the Naoussa-Parikia road. It is just 3 kilometers from the port of Naoussa. The interior of the monastery is reminiscent of a fort, where one wall is a cruciform church with a dome. Inside the church, the carved wooden icon screen and bishop's throne stand out. The icons, painted by iconographers of the period, are also interesting. The monastery is privately owned. Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos (16th century AD) The monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos is located in Kravga, 4 kilometers from Naoussa. Most of the buildings of the old monastery have collapsed and only the church, with its two-aisle basilica, is in good condition. The covered entrance and courtyard are also intact. The current owner of the monastery is restoring some of the cells at his own expense. The church has an arched bell tower and the two aisles are dedicated to Agios Ioannis Theologos and Agios Ioannis Prodromos respectively. The buildings of the monastery have been declared listed historical monuments. The Monastery of Agios Ioannis Detis on the Korakas peninsula Agios Ioannis Detis is a beautiful monastery built on the sea, in the Environmental Park of Paros, just a few kilometers northwest of Naoussa. The original building, which was in all likelihood a church, was built in the 16th century, and evolved into a monastery in 1806, according to the sign in the church. The monastery was deserted in 1833, by order of King Othon. The buildings were largely restored between 1964 and 1982, when Dutch painter Gisele D'Ailly settled in the monastery. The "Detis" possibly refers to the ships tied up in the bay, which is protected from the winds, or the habit Agios Ioannis had of tying malaria ("denei" in Greek), that is, treating malaria, which swept the island in the 18th century. A large festival is held at the monastery on 29 August. Agios Georgios looks down over Naoussa from above Agios Fanourios in Ampelas
Chruch of Pera Panagia
The church of Pera Panagia is located a few kilometers east of the village of Marmara, a two-aisle basilica with vaulted narthex and a flat roof. Three arches connect the two aisles and are supported by ancient columns. The north is dedicated to the birth of Theotokos and the south to Agios Nikolaos. The little church was built on an idyllic site, with a tiled path lined by eucalyptus trees leading to the entrance, which is dominated by a lovely, marble, double-arched bell tower. The icon screen found in the church is carved of wood and gilded. The icon of Panagia Marmariani dates from the 17th century, but has been heavily restored.
Church of the Kimisis tis Theotokou
Kimisis tis Theotokou is the parish church of the village of Marmara. The majestic church, with simple Aegean lines, has a dome and three-arch bell tower above the entrance, and two belfries (one small and one slightly larger with two levels) above the aisles at each end. The left aisle below the small belfry is essentially a second church, which was added on to the main church at a later date and is dedicated to Timios Prodromos. The icon screen in the main church is made of carved wood and gilded.
The unusual country church of Agia Marina has a second aisle attached, dedicated to Agios Artemios. It is located in the village square and is surrounded by trees. The main church, dedicated to Agia Marina, has a dome supported on four columns and an arched narthex.
Built in 1608, Agios Savvas is a three-corner country church with a five-sided dome, and a unique arched bell tower made of dark limestone.
Church of Agios Panteleimonas
Agios Panteleimonas, the parish church of the village of Kostos, is a cruciform church with a cylindrical dome. Erected in 1780, the church was recently renovated. There is a three-arch stone bell tower above the entrance. The carved wooden icon screen is gilded.
Church of Agios Athansios the Parian
Church under construction in the village of Kostos, dedicated to the local saint, Agios Athanasios the Parian.
Church of Agia Marina
The church of Agia Marina, which dates from the 17th century, is a single space church with an arched roof, located near Agios Panteleimonas. An impressive stone bell tower, built many years later, stands next to the entrance.
Country Church of Agia Ypakoi or Pakous
The country church of Agia Ypakoi or Pakous, as it is called in Paros, is located at the intersection of the Parikia-Lefkes road and the road from Kostos, just 1.5 kilometers outside the village. It is a single space church with a flat roof and large narthex. There is a small arched bell tower above the entrance.
Monastery of Agios Minas in Marathi
The Monastery of Agios Minas is located six kilometers from Parikia, very near the village of Marathi. From afar, the half ruined monastery sitting atop a hill resembles a castle. It was built in the 16th century. The cruciform church has a dome and its carved wooden icon screen is gilded.
Church of Agios Ioannis The church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos gave Prodromos its name, as it was originally known as Dragoulas. It is a single-aisle basilica with a dome, which was added on to the older church of Agios Dimitrios. A narthex with a sloped roof was added to the church. The two churches are connected by arches, and the bell tower is located above the arch that connects the church with the house opposite, and the main cobblestone street of the village passes beneath it. Church of Agios Spyridonas, Agion Apostoli, Agios Panteleimonas and Agios Georgios, at the entrance of the village A group of chapels at the entrance to Prodromos. Agios Nikolaos and Agios Georgios are the two main chapels, and are connected by a bell tower above the main arch that is the gate to the village. Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas Monastery of Panagia Kontiani
Church of Agia Triada (19th century BC) Agia Triada is the second largest church on Paros, after Ekatontapiliani. Foundations were laid in 1830, on the site of three small churches: Analipsi, Agios Georgios and Agia Anna. It was completed, in its current form, in 1835. Agia Triada is a three-aisle basilica with a raised and sloped center aisle, which is covered by a tile roof. Two imposing, raised marble bell towers dominate the left and right of the main gate, exquisitely sculpted by skilled artists. The four double columns supporting the gate of the church are also made of marble. There are also three inner gates. A ceramic depiction of Agia Triada by renowned iconographer Virginia Kydonieo is found above the main inner gate. On entering the church, the arch-covered center aisle and vaulted side aisles are immediately visible. The aisles are separated by four marble columns. The icon screen is also made of carved marble, crafted by a skilled sculptor from Tinos. The frescoes inside the church, dating from the 19th century, are also interesting. The Church of Agia Triada was declared a listed monument by the Ministry of Culture. Church of Agia Aikaterini The church of Agia Aikaterini (1726) is located in the narrow streets of the mountain village of Lefkes. It is a two-aisle chapel, with two domed narthexes, an impressive double bell tower and a domed roof. The north aisle is dedicated to Agios Athanasios. Monastery of Agios Ioannis Kaparos The monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos, or Kaparos (the name of the last owner) is located southwest of the village of Lefkes, near the source of the river Vronta. It is a small monastery with a correspondingly small chapel, which was renovated in 1646. An excursion to Ai Yiannis brings visitors to a place of outstanding natural beauty, flora and running waters. The marble icon screen inside the chapel dates from 1793. Monastery of Agia Kyriaki, on the road to Avkoulaki A recently renovated monastery southeast of Lefkes. The Monastery of Agia Kyriaki was founded in the 17th century by monk Mattheos Ragousi, and closed in 1831, after the death of Gideon, the last monk to reside in the monastery. The cruciform, single space church features a carved wooden icon screen and marble pulpit. Church of Zoodochou Pigis in Aspro Chorio