Agios Titos church in Heraklion
The church of Agios Titos in Heraklion Town, Crete: The Cathedral of Agios Titos in Heraklion Town is among the most important monuments in Crete. It is found on August 25th street, one of the busiest streets of the town. Around the church, there is a lovely square with small cafes and bars.
The original church of Agios Titos on this location was probably built in 961 A.D. by the Byzantine Emperor Nicephorus Phokas, who liberated Crete from the Arabs and made it again part of the Byzantine Empire. To strengthen the Christian faith in Crete, who had weakened from the Arabs, the emperor constructed this Orthodox church and dedicated it to Agios Titos, a disciple of Apostle Paul and first Bishop of Crete.
The first church dedicated to Agios Titos had been built in Gortyn, the first capital town of Crete, before it was destroyed by an earthquake and the capital was transferred to its present location, in Heraklion Town by the Arabs in 828 A.D. In this new church, the skull of Agios Titos was transferred as well as a miracle-working icon of Virgin Mary and other relics from Gortyn.
During the Turkish occupation from Crete, the church of Agios Titos was turned into a mosque, named Vezir mosque. In the severe earthquake of 1856 that hit Crete, the temple was entirely destroyed and rebuilt as an Ottoman mosque by architect Athanasios Mousis. The minaret was destroyed in 1920 when the last Ottomans left the island of Crete, who had been integrated into the Greek State since 1909. Today, the cathedral works as an Orthodox church, after its renovation in 1925.