Our Lady of Hundred Gates

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(New page: One of the most renowned Greek Orthodox temples, dedicated to the Holy Mother of Christ, is the Ekatontapyliani at the Greek island of Paros, central Aegean Sea. Ekatontapyliani is actual...)
 
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One of the most renowned Greek Orthodox temples, dedicated to the Holy Mother of Christ, is the Ekatontapyliani at the Greek island of Paros, central Aegean Sea. Ekatontapyliani is actually a complex of temples built around a central yard, similar to a monastery’s. The most ancient of those temples is the one dedicated to St Nicholas, patron of mariners, constructed in the 3rd or 4th century.
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The '''Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani''' is one of the most significant Byzantine monuments of Greece and is situated in Pirikia, the capital of Paros island, a short distance from its port; east of the old town of Paros. It is one of the oldest Christian [[temple]]s to be found in Greece. It's formal name is '''Katapoliani''' from ''kata'' and ''polis'' which mean "towards the city"; or towards the ancient city. Its official, and more common name, ''Ekatontapyliani'', is a creation of seventeenth century scholars who, wanting to give it more worth, named it like the ancient hundred gates of Thebes in Egypt. The church commemorates its main [[feast day]] on [[August 15]].
  
According to legend, the mother of Greco-Roman Emperor Constantine (early 4th century) sailed from Constantinopolis (called Istanbul today) and was headed to the Holy Land, in order to find the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ. The boat she sailed on pulled in the hospitable port of Paros and Helene Augusta prayed in the little temple existing at the time. There she had a vision about the successful issue of her mission and she solemnly promised she would built a larger, more magnificent temple after accomplishing it.
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==History==
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Many stories circulate regarding the construction of the temple. The more common identifies St. [[Helen]] as the founder. On her way to the [[Holy Land]] to find the Holy Cross, her boat docked in Paros. Near the port, there was a small temple, and inside this temple she prayed and made a vow that if she should find the Holy Cross, she would build a large temple on that site. She did find the Holy Cross and fulfilled her vow by building the temple. Another story mentions that St. Helen could not fulfill her promise and instructed her son, Emperor [[Constantine the Great]], to do so and he fulfilled her wish. A third version narrates that no temple existed on this site prior to the sixth century. However, Emperor [[Justin I|Justin]] wanted to strengthen the religious sentiment of the island and built the temple.
  
Helene eventually returned to Constantinopolis, newly-established Greco-Roman capital, having restored the Holy Cross. Following these events, the Emperor financed constructions on the site, either by expanding the original temple or by building a new one, dedicated to the Mother of God. The existence of Mary’s temple is testified with certainty from the 6th century onwards, when Emperor Justinianus undertook works on the said temple.
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About 1962, the [[church]] was renovated by the renowned professor and academic [[Anastasius Orlandos]].<ref>"... From the second decade of the twentieth century men like George Soteriou and Anastasius Orlandos revealed the presence of numerous Early Christian [[basilica]]s throughout the modern boundaries of the Greek state. [W. Bowden, ''Epirus Vetus'', 22-24; W. H. C. Frend, ''The Archaeology of Early Christianity, a History''. (London 1997), 204-205, 244-245.] The uniformity of these buildings confirmed in the mind of these scholars the relative uniformity of a Christian Greek culture within and perhaps even beyond the boundaries of the modern nation-state during fifth century. Moreover, the emphasis reading architecture in Greece as evidence for the development of the Christian liturgy not only established a historical connection between the Early Christian liturgy in Greece and its Middle Byzantine successor but also placed Greece firmly within the liturgical history of both Constantinople and the broader Orthodox world. Thus, the architecture and liturgy of Greece sought not only to define the ancient roots of Greek Christian culture, but also to tie it to the culture of the Orthodox Eastern Mediterranean at the very moment when Greek territorial ambitions had been stifled after the disastrous Asia Minor campaigns of the early 1920s. The terms of debate established by Soteriou and Anastasius Orlandos persisted even as the discipline of Early Christian archaeology passed into the hands of scholars with rather different political views like Demetrius Pallas ..." (from [http://mediterraneanworld.typepad.com/the_archaeology_of_the_me/late_antiquity/index.html Why Hybridity Matters for the Study of Early Christian Greece] by [http://www.und.nodak.edu/instruct/wcaraher/ Bill Caraher] in ''The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World''.)</ref> His research proved that the rightful constructors were indeed Constantine and Helen. He also proved the existence of a temple dating from the fourth century. Professor Orlandos commenced refurbishments of the church which required seven years to complete. This was achieved by 1966.
  
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==Enclosure and courtyard ==
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The entire enclosure is surrounded by a 8.5m high walled fence which has a perimeter of 252m around this large property. The main courtyard in front of the church, measures about 42m by 34m, and is enclosed on the north, west, and south by two rows of [[cell]]s. These were constructed during different periods and were completed by the seventeenth century.
  
Ekatontapyliani church in the island of Paros
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East of the courtyard, behind the gardens, are five unenclosed tombs from the nineteenth century. These belong to a notable, wealthy and noble family from Paros who contributed significant financial assistance to the refurbishments of the church and who were also extremely pious Christians. [[w:Manto Mavrogenous|Manto Mavroyenis]], an 1821 [[w:Greek War of Independence|War of Independence]] heroine of Paros, was also buried there in 1848.
Ekatontapyliani means “[The Temple] With Hundred Gates” — but this name appears for the first time in the early 17th century. Most probably the name is a corruption of the adjective Katapoliani, meaning “The Downtown [Temple]”; nevertheless, it was the folk tale about the Hundred Gates that prevailed finally. The popular legend goes as follows: When, in 1453, Constantinopolis, last rampart of Greek Orthodoxy and former wealthy and powerful capital of the Byzantine Empire, was sieged and conquered by the Ottoman army (the so-called Fall of the Polis) the hundredth gate of Ekatontapyliani vanished by miracle and the temple was left with only ninety-nine doors. People expect the gate to reappear when Istanbul is once again restored to the Greeks.
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The religious feast of Our Lady Of Hundred Gates is celebrated with great honors each year on the day of death, or Dormition of the Mother of God. The 15th of August, or Dekapentávgustos, as it is called by the Greeks, is a public holiday and a major solemn celebration all over Greece, with various events, processions and festivities organized to commemorate it. The Greek islands exhibit a special and intense devotion to Virgin Mary and their mid-August religious feasts are always exuberant, a touching experience for those who wish to participate.
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A few pillars and a marble foundation, are remnants from a marble building with arcades from the fourth century, which formed the [[atrium]] of the temple. This is part of the impressive facade of the temple once a worshiper has passed the big three-foiled gates.
  
Source: [http://www.Greek-Orthodox.Org Greek-Orthodox.org]
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<gallery>
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Image:1684_Tomb.JPG|<small>One of the tombs of the Mavroyenis family, dating 1684 and bearing the [[Double-headed eagle]] emblem of the [[Byzantine Empire]].</small>
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</gallery>
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==Narthex ==
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Many tombs are in this section of the temple; amongst these are Nicholas Kondilis (1681), Nicholas Voutzaras (1617) and George Mavroyenis (1870). These tombs are of historical importance and the final resting place for those who are considered important people who gave generously for the restoration and renovations of the temple.
 +
 
 +
==Main Temple ==
 +
The main temple is about 30x25m and is an outstanding piece of architecture; the unison of its interior design creates a feeling of size, antique atmosphere and inner harmony. In the centre, is a cross-shaped temple with a colonnade in the north, south and west. There is a second level (the gynaeceum) with a series of square pillars. These are also shaped in the cross to form the four vaults in the middle and the "cross-vaults" on the sides. The four vaults cross at the dome, which is held on all four spherical triangles and also by four very big columns.
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On the two of the four spherical triangles, six-winged seraphim are painted on them and there is only one other church in the world with this exact same painting of six-winged seraphim on spherical triangles and that is in [[Hagia Sophia (Constantinople)|St. Sophia of Constantinople]].
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The northern and western vaults had fallen during an earthquake that shook the church in 1733. These have since been rebuilt.
 +
 
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=== Images of the Main Temple ===
 +
<gallery>
 +
Image:Ekatontapyliani_1.JPG|<small>View of the Main temple and Iconostasis</small>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_6.JPG|<small>View of the Main temple and Iconostasis</small>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_7.JPG|<small>View of the Main temple and North wing</small>
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</gallery>
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==Altar==
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<gallery>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_2.JPG|<small>The Altar: View of the "[[Synthronon]]".</small>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_4.JPG|<small>The Altar: View of the "Ciborium".</small>
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</gallery>
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==Iconostasis ==
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<gallery>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_3.JPG|<small>View of the top part of the Iconostasis</small>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_6.JPG|<small>Close up view of the entire Iconostasis</small>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_8.JPG|<small>View of iconostasis from the North wing church</small>
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</gallery>
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==Chapels==
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*Chapel of St. [[Theoctiste of the Isle of Lesbos|Theoktiste of Lesbos]]
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:''See St. [[Theoctiste of the Isle of Lesbos|Theoktiste of Lesbos]]
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<gallery>
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Image:Theoctyste_1.JPG|<small>Icon of St. Theoctiste</small>
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</gallery>
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:In the northern wall of the temple is the small [[chapel]] of St. Theoctiste. There is an enclosed tomb that once contained the [[relics]] of the [[saint]].
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*Chapel of St. Nicholas
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:This chapel measures 19x15m and is situated north of the [[altar]] of the main temple. It is the oldest chapel, not only of the entire church but of the whole island. Many archaeologists believe that this is the spot that St. [[Helen]] prayed before venturing to find the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
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*Chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries Ss. Anargyron
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*Chapel of St. Philip
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:This chapel (8mx2.5m) is to the south of the Chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries and is connected directly with it, though it has a separate ceiling.
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*Chapel of St. Theodosia
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*Chapel of St. Demetrios
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==Baptismal font==
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<gallery>
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Image:Ekatontapyliani_5.JPG|The Baptismal Font: The ancient "Photistirion" of the Baptismal Font
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</gallery>
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==Portable icons==
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*The "Praying Virgin" (circa 15th Century)
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*The "Pure One" (circa 16th century)
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*The "Holy Trinity - St. Zion"
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<gallery>
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Image:TrinityKatopiliani.JPG|Icon of the Holy Trinity - St. Zion
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</gallery>
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*The "Panagia Eleousa"
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 +
==The old monument gate==
 +
This gate was brought to the northern wing of the complex by Professor Anastasius Orlandos during the restorations of the central gate of the [[narthex]]. The monument gate is rich in marble decoration and consists of two bizarre columns with a corniced pediment and anthemium at the top. These columns are supported on cubical bases with two human comical forms sculpted into them. These forms form the basis of the legend associated with this gate.
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==Legends==
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<gallery>
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Image:Pyliani_Apoc.JPG|<small>The Apocalypse Legend: Sculpture linked to the legend of the Apocalypse.</small>
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</gallery>
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==See also==
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*[[Metropolis of Paronaxia]]
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==External links==
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* [http://www.ekatontapyliani.org/ Virtual Tour of the Church]
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==Notes==
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<small><references/></small>
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[[Category:Churches|Panagia Ekatontapyliani]]
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[[Category: Churches in Greece|Panagia Ekatontapyliani]]

Latest revision as of 16:52, March 11, 2013

The Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani is one of the most significant Byzantine monuments of Greece and is situated in Pirikia, the capital of Paros island, a short distance from its port; east of the old town of Paros. It is one of the oldest Christian temples to be found in Greece. It's formal name is Katapoliani from kata and polis which mean "towards the city"; or towards the ancient city. Its official, and more common name, Ekatontapyliani, is a creation of seventeenth century scholars who, wanting to give it more worth, named it like the ancient hundred gates of Thebes in Egypt. The church commemorates its main feast day on August 15.

Contents

History

Many stories circulate regarding the construction of the temple. The more common identifies St. Helen as the founder. On her way to the Holy Land to find the Holy Cross, her boat docked in Paros. Near the port, there was a small temple, and inside this temple she prayed and made a vow that if she should find the Holy Cross, she would build a large temple on that site. She did find the Holy Cross and fulfilled her vow by building the temple. Another story mentions that St. Helen could not fulfill her promise and instructed her son, Emperor Constantine the Great, to do so and he fulfilled her wish. A third version narrates that no temple existed on this site prior to the sixth century. However, Emperor Justin wanted to strengthen the religious sentiment of the island and built the temple.

About 1962, the church was renovated by the renowned professor and academic Anastasius Orlandos.[1] His research proved that the rightful constructors were indeed Constantine and Helen. He also proved the existence of a temple dating from the fourth century. Professor Orlandos commenced refurbishments of the church which required seven years to complete. This was achieved by 1966.

Enclosure and courtyard

The entire enclosure is surrounded by a 8.5m high walled fence which has a perimeter of 252m around this large property. The main courtyard in front of the church, measures about 42m by 34m, and is enclosed on the north, west, and south by two rows of cells. These were constructed during different periods and were completed by the seventeenth century.

East of the courtyard, behind the gardens, are five unenclosed tombs from the nineteenth century. These belong to a notable, wealthy and noble family from Paros who contributed significant financial assistance to the refurbishments of the church and who were also extremely pious Christians. Manto Mavroyenis, an 1821 War of Independence heroine of Paros, was also buried there in 1848.

A few pillars and a marble foundation, are remnants from a marble building with arcades from the fourth century, which formed the atrium of the temple. This is part of the impressive facade of the temple once a worshiper has passed the big three-foiled gates.

Narthex

Many tombs are in this section of the temple; amongst these are Nicholas Kondilis (1681), Nicholas Voutzaras (1617) and George Mavroyenis (1870). These tombs are of historical importance and the final resting place for those who are considered important people who gave generously for the restoration and renovations of the temple.

Main Temple

The main temple is about 30x25m and is an outstanding piece of architecture; the unison of its interior design creates a feeling of size, antique atmosphere and inner harmony. In the centre, is a cross-shaped temple with a colonnade in the north, south and west. There is a second level (the gynaeceum) with a series of square pillars. These are also shaped in the cross to form the four vaults in the middle and the "cross-vaults" on the sides. The four vaults cross at the dome, which is held on all four spherical triangles and also by four very big columns.

On the two of the four spherical triangles, six-winged seraphim are painted on them and there is only one other church in the world with this exact same painting of six-winged seraphim on spherical triangles and that is in St. Sophia of Constantinople.

The northern and western vaults had fallen during an earthquake that shook the church in 1733. These have since been rebuilt.

Images of the Main Temple

Altar

Iconostasis

Chapels

See St. Theoktiste of Lesbos
In the northern wall of the temple is the small chapel of St. Theoctiste. There is an enclosed tomb that once contained the relics of the saint.
  • Chapel of St. Nicholas
This chapel measures 19x15m and is situated north of the altar of the main temple. It is the oldest chapel, not only of the entire church but of the whole island. Many archaeologists believe that this is the spot that St. Helen prayed before venturing to find the Holy Cross in Jerusalem.
  • Chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries Ss. Anargyron
  • Chapel of St. Philip
This chapel (8mx2.5m) is to the south of the Chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries and is connected directly with it, though it has a separate ceiling.
  • Chapel of St. Theodosia
  • Chapel of St. Demetrios

Baptismal font

Portable icons

  • The "Praying Virgin" (circa 15th Century)
  • The "Pure One" (circa 16th century)
  • The "Holy Trinity - St. Zion"
  • The "Panagia Eleousa"

The old monument gate

This gate was brought to the northern wing of the complex by Professor Anastasius Orlandos during the restorations of the central gate of the narthex. The monument gate is rich in marble decoration and consists of two bizarre columns with a corniced pediment and anthemium at the top. These columns are supported on cubical bases with two human comical forms sculpted into them. These forms form the basis of the legend associated with this gate.

Legends

See also

External links

Notes

  1. "... From the second decade of the twentieth century men like George Soteriou and Anastasius Orlandos revealed the presence of numerous Early Christian basilicas throughout the modern boundaries of the Greek state. [W. Bowden, Epirus Vetus, 22-24; W. H. C. Frend, The Archaeology of Early Christianity, a History. (London 1997), 204-205, 244-245.] The uniformity of these buildings confirmed in the mind of these scholars the relative uniformity of a Christian Greek culture within and perhaps even beyond the boundaries of the modern nation-state during fifth century. Moreover, the emphasis reading architecture in Greece as evidence for the development of the Christian liturgy not only established a historical connection between the Early Christian liturgy in Greece and its Middle Byzantine successor but also placed Greece firmly within the liturgical history of both Constantinople and the broader Orthodox world. Thus, the architecture and liturgy of Greece sought not only to define the ancient roots of Greek Christian culture, but also to tie it to the culture of the Orthodox Eastern Mediterranean at the very moment when Greek territorial ambitions had been stifled after the disastrous Asia Minor campaigns of the early 1920s. The terms of debate established by Soteriou and Anastasius Orlandos persisted even as the discipline of Early Christian archaeology passed into the hands of scholars with rather different political views like Demetrius Pallas ..." (from Why Hybridity Matters for the Study of Early Christian Greece by Bill Caraher in The Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.)
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