Church of Panagia (The Virgin Mary)

Panagia (Virgin Mary) church in Fodele near Heraklion

The Church of Panagia (The Virgin Mary) is located in the village of Fodele, Crete, on the site of a ruined 7th-century three-aisled basilica. The current church dates to the early second Byzantine period (11th century) and has the typical cruciform shape of Byzantine churches.

The floor of the basilica was decorated with marble. Today, parts of the outer walls and a baptistery remain, and there are two pillars that have been incorporated into the walls of the present church. The incorporation of the old walls caused the absence of some features, such as the decorative blind arches in the eastern part. To the west, the facade and corner compartments are decorated with simple arches whose arch is accentuated by a serrated band.

The cruciform part of the church is emphasized, as the arms are much higher than the corner compartments, while the two sides are decorated with arches resting on pilasters. The cylindrical dome has eight single-light windows with arches made of bricks and a conical roof, as is customary in Cretan churches, and is surrounded by a serrated band.

The apse of the sanctuary, much smaller than the early Christian one, has a three-lobed window with lobes of equal height resting on marble ambo columns from the basilica. Small single-light windows with arches and bricks open on the arms of the cross and the corner compartments.

The dome rests on four columns of ordinary masonry, covered with thick mortar with engravings imitating ashlar masonry. The exterior of the church probably had a similar appearance, as is observed in the Byzantine churches of Agios Ioannis in Roukani and Agios Myron. The corner compartments are covered by cross vaults, in the tradition of the School of Constantinople. A marble breastplate with a medallion in the shape of a button and a frame of heart-shaped leaves at the corners survives from the original templon.

  • Construction Period: Early second Byzantine period (11th century)
  • Location: Fodele, Crete, Greece


Panagia (Virgin Mary) church in Fodele near Heraklion
Panagia (Virgin Mary) church in Fodele near Heraklion
Panagia (Virgin Mary) church in Fodele near Heraklion
Panagia (Virgin Mary) church in Fodele near Heraklion
Paved Road
Byzantine period
Ottoman period
Early Christian Period

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