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Ekatontapiliani 


Ekatontapiliani

The sacred jewel of Paros is the church of Panagia the Ekatontapiliani, one of the most important early Christian monuments of the Greek territory. It is located in the N.E. part of the city of Paros, in short distance from the port. Through the legends of Byzantium begins the history of Ekatontapiliani which must have been built in the fourth century. Saint Eleni, the mother of Great Constantine while she was heading to the Holy Ground in pursuit of the Holy Cross she stopped with her ship to Paros, where she finds a small temple, one of the first of the new religion. She prays and makes a vow. If she finds the Holy Cross, she will build a large temple in the same location. God heard her prayer and Saint Eleni found the Cross and fulfilled her promise. According to another tradition, the temple was built by Great Constantine under his mother's orders, who died before its construction. In the beginning it was a cross-formed with roof made of wood, royal church which was destroyed probably by fire. While Ioustinianos was King of Byzantium, it was rebuilt and shaped with canopies and dome. According to tradition, the Ioustinian temple of Ekatontapiliani built the student of the master builder who constructed the church of Agia Sofia in Konstantinoupoli. During the Frankish domination and the Turkish domination it was tested many times by disasters and pillages. However, the greatest disaster was the earthquake of 1773. The later repair defaced the original imposing figure. The restoration of Ekatontapiliani started in 1959 which gave its today shape, a cross-formed royal church with dome. The sculptures which decorate the temple derive from the ancient temple of Dimitra, which was placed in the port of Paroikia. In the south side of the large temple, there is the font of the fourth century, the most ancient and best preserved font in the entire Orthodox East. In the font there is the oldest mural from those found in the island. It was created during the 11th - 12th century and represents Saint Georgios. Inside Ekatontapiliani also exists the Byzantine museum of Paroikia with icons of exquisite art, woodcuts and other religious from the period of Byzantine and Turkish domination. The greatest celebration of the island is this of Panagia on 15th of August, consequently the religious celebration is accompanied by a large folk feast.

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Ekatontapiliani




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