Millions of tourists and believers flock annually to the well-known churches of Greece.
Panagia Paraportiani on Mykonos, Meteora, the Church of Kapnikarea in central Athens and the blue-domed churches of Santorini are all known throughout the world.
But here’s a list of 10 lesser-known churches, deep in beauty, spirituality and history.
1) Church of the Seven Martyrs, Sifnos island
Situated on a windy peninsula, right below Kastro village in Sifnos, this chapel is surrounded by the beautiful blue of the Aegean sea. The sunrise here is breathtaking.
2) Church of St. Isidoros, Chios island
Located in a small lovely bay, near the Sykiada village in Northeast Chios, this is one of the most photographed places in the island.
3) Monastery of Elona, Lakonia
According to tradition, the miracle-working icon of Panagia Vrefokratousa was found here and the first two monks settled in to protect it. The majestic monastery stands on a huge rocky crag of Mount Parnon and it brought hope to the Greek people during the Ottoman oppression.
4) Panagia Makrini, Samos Island
Found on the western side of Kerki, the Holy Mountain of Samos, this chapel is built within a cave surrounded by earthen pots which fill from the water from the stalactites.
5) Monastery of St John the Theologian, Chora of Patmos island
Declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO, this monastery was founded in 1088 when the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Kommenos gave the island of Patmos to the soldier-priest Ioannis Christodoulos “the Blessed”. Hidden in the walls are fragments of an ancient temple of Artemis that was destroyed in the 11th century. Halfway down the cobbled path that leads to the monastery is the Cave of the Apocalypse, where St. John is believed to have received his revelations.
6) St. Fanourios Church, Doxa Lake in Corinthia
Lake Doxa is an artificial lake in western Corinthia, near the village of ancient Feneos. This small chapel is on a small peninsula in the heart of the lake.
7) Churches in Didima, Argolida
Didima, meaning twins, is a small village south of Epidavros, known for its two craters. In the smaller crater there are two tiny churches of Byzantine origin, St. George chapel (pictured) and the church of Metamorphosis.
8) St. John, Skopelos Island
Made famous by the movie Mamma Mia, this church is built atop a high cliff near the village of Glossa and one has to climb about 106 steps to reach it. The view from the top justifies every step though!
9) Panagia Tourliani, Milos Island
Another favorite, this church is built on a hill above Klima village, overlooking the island and the Adamas gulf.
10) St. Stefanos, Syros Island
According to tradition, the church of Agios Stefanos was built by a fisherman named Stephanos from the nearby village of Galissa, who has been threatened by a huge octopus that was pulling him to the sea. He made a vow to St. Stephanos to save him and so he built the chapel in this secluded crag in his honor.
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Here is another beautiful, mysterious and often overlooked church:
Another beautiful and overlooked church is the Church of the Virgin Mary Diotissa (or Virgin Mary of Vlaherna) on the island of Dias, which is a half mile off the coast of Kefalonia.
According to http://www.kefalonia-ithaca.gr/livathos-areauk.htm, “One hundred steps lead up to the church, which is 24 m above sea-level and was built on the ruins of the Temple of Zeus (Dias). The church hosts a that celebration every year on July 2nd. “
One correction: the Church of the Seven Martyrs is on the east coast of Sifnos, so the breathtaking “sunset” is actually a sunrise.
Thx for the clarification Bruce!
There are epic churches everywhere you look in Greece! Traditional Christianity should be promoted more to tourists.