Agios Athanasios

Location: Mytilene   

The church of Agios Athanasios in Lesvos: The beautiful church of Saint Athanasios is located right in the center of the town of Mytilene and has a remarkable structure. It is dated between the period of the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century. Characterized by a cross in a square and a domed basilica with three aisles, the inside is as breathtaking as the exterior, with walls lined with magnificent paintings, indicating a strong Renaissance influence.

The most impressive feature about this church is the huge bell tower, which is visible from a considerable distance. Another attractive artifact is the wood carving dated to the post-Byzantine period, around 1738, which is a beautiful masterpiece. Also from this period is the fretwork icon screen, a unique and stunning artifact. The icon of Jesus Christ was received from Asia Minor during the 16th century and is considered an heirloom.

An interesting section of the church is the sacred relics of Saint Theodore, who is believed to have saved the entire island from the plague in 1836. He was hung by the Turks in 1795 and is the patron saint of the island. His martyrdom is celebrated with much aplomb on the 17th of February every year and also on the 4th Sunday of Easter. Every local on Lesvos reveres Saint Theodore for his actions in saving the island and the Church is maintained with great care. To get a glimpse into this side of Lesvos, a visit to the Church of Saint Athanasios is a must.

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