Ithaca Church of Savior Christ

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Location: Vathy

Surrounded by pine trees, the whitewashed Church of Savior Christ stands on an islet in the sea, facing Vathy and the port of Ithaca.
The earliest reference to this church dates to 1668 and it is related to a renovation of the church that existed in the form of a small chapel dedicated to the Transfiguration of Jesus. It is possible that it is much older.
Another more recent reference comes from 18th century manuscripts, when the "Church of Pantocrator" would operate as a monastery.

The tiny island where it is located is known as Lazaretto and is one of the island's most significant historic sites.

Findings suggest that the main building of Lazaretto was constructed in 1817, when a bust of the English Governor Sir Thomas Maitland was placed there. It was made of fragments from ancient Greek ruins and it collapsed due to the earthquake of 1953.
Only the Church of Savior Christ partially survived and it was reconstructed in 1956.

Lazaretto comes from the Italian lazaro which means "leper". Lazarettos were established on almost all the islands of the Ionian sea by the Venetians as quarantine stations to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. This one was used to contain Venetian ships arriving from abroad in 1836.

A few years later, Lazaretto started being used as a prison up until 1912. War prisoners were being held captive there during World War I but as soon as the war was over, Lazaretto's operation as a prison ceased and the building remained abandoned until its destruction by the earthquake of 1953.

In addition to the Church of Savior Christ, a lighthouse is currently located on the islet. The small chapel has become popular for wedding ceremonies due to the picturesque atmosphere. The church celebrates every year on August 5th and 6th, with special religious practices and festivities taking place on those days.



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