Difference between revisions of "Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani - Hundred Doors (Paros)"

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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 temples which is to be found in Greece. It's real name is '''Katapoliani''' which means ''kata'' and ''polis'' - "towards the city"; or towards the ancient city. Its official, and more common name, '''Ekatontapyliani''' is a creation of 17th century scholars who wanting to give it more worth named it like the ancient hundred gates of Thibes in Egypt. The church commemorates is main feast day [[August 15]].
#REDIRECT [[Our Lady of Hundred Gates]]
== 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 big temple on that site. She did find the Holy Cross and fulfilled her vow by building the temple. The other 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 6th century. However, Emperor Justin wanted to strengthen the religious sentiment of the island and built the temple.
In c. 1962, the church was renovated by the renowned professor and academic ''Anastasios Orlandos''. <ref> "... From the second decade of the 20th century men like George Soteriou and Anastasius Orlandos revealed the presence of numerous Early Christian basilicas throughout the modern boundaries of the Greek state. The uniformity of these buildings confirmed in the mind of these scholars the relatively uniformity of a Christian Greek culture within and perhaps even beyond the boundaries of the modern nation-state during 5th century AD. 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 Orlandos persisted even as the discipline of Early Christian archaeology passed into the hands of scholars with rather different political views like Demetrius Pallas ..." <ref> [http://mediterraneanworld.typepad.com/the_archaeology_of_the_me/late_antiquity/index.html '''March 21, 2008:''' ''Why Hybridity Matters for the Study of Early Christian Greece'', [http://www.und.nodak.edu/instruct/wcaraher/ Bill Caraher], Archaeology of the Mediterranean World.] </ref></ref> His research proved that the rightful constructers were indeed Constantine and Helen. He also proved the existence of a temple dating from the 4th century.
Professor Orlandos commenced refurbishments of the church which required seven years to complete. This was achieved by 1966.
== The Enclosure / 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 42 x 34m, and is enclosed on the nort, west and south by two rows of cells. These wre constructed during different periods and were completed by the 17th century.
East of the courtyard, behind the gardens, are five unenclosed tombs from the 19th 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 extremally pious christians. [[w:Manto Mavroyenis]], an 1821 [[War of Independance]] heroin 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 4th century, which formed the atrium of the temple. This is part of the impressive facade of the temple once a worshipper has passed the big three-foiled gates.
== The Narthex ==
Many tombs are in this section of the temple; amongst those are Nicholas Kondilis (1681), Nicholas Voutzaras (1617) and George Mavroyenis (1870). These tombs are of historical importance and the final resting place for, what are considered, important people who gave generously for the restoration and reonvations of the temple.
== The Main Temple ==
Image:Ekatontapyliani_1.JPG|'''The Main Temple''' - View of the Main temple and Iconostassis.
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 seraphims are painted on them and there is only one other church in the world with this exact same painting of six-winged seraphims 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.
== The Altar ==
Image:Ekatontapyliani_2.JPG|'''The Altar''' - View of the "Synthronon".
Image:Ekatontapyliani_4.JPG|'''The Altar''' - View of the "Ciborium".
== The Iconostassis ==
Image:Ekatontapyliani_3.JPG|'''The Iconostassis''' - View of the Iconostassis (close up).
== Chapels ==
*The Chapel of St. [[Theoctiste of the Isle of Lesbos|Theoktiste of Lesbos]].
::''See Main Article on St. [[Theoctiste of the Isle of Lesbos|Theoktiste of Lesbos]] ([[November 9]])'' <ref> ''What we know about St. Theoktisti we owe primarily to St. [[Symeon Metaphrastes ("the Translator")]], renowned primarily for his Lives of the Saints (148 of them). </ref> <ref> Theoctiste is from Lesbos, however, due to the archaeological and historical importance of her association with the [[Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani - Hundred Doors (Paros)|Church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani - Hundred Doors]] she is also classified as a ''Parian'' local saint; she lived inside the church before dying martyrically at the hands of pirates. </ref>
Image:Theoctyste_1.JPG|'''Icon of St. Theoctiste'''
:In the northern wall of the temple is the small chapel of St. Theoctiste. There is an enclosed tomb in which once contained the relics of the saint.
*The 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.
*The Chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries Ss. Anargyron
*The Chapel of St. Philip
:This chapel (8x2.5m) is to the south of the Chapel of the Holy Unmercenaries and is connected directly with it; though it has a separate ceiling.
*The Chapel of St. Theodosia
*The Chapel of St. Demetrios
== The Baptismal Font ==
Image:Ekatontapyliani_5.JPG|'''The Baptismal Font''' - The ancient "Photistirion" of the 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 and its Legend ==
== Other Legends ==
Image:Pyliani_Apoc.JPG|'''The Apocalypse Legend''' - Sculpture linked to the legend of the Apocalypse.
== See also ==
*[[Metropolis of Paronaxia]]
== Notes ==
[[Category:Greek Churches]]

Latest revision as of 23:29, October 3, 2011