Historic Temples

Coordinates: 36.687427, 23.055635

Church of Elkomenos Christos

At the area of the square, at Kato Poli of Monemvasia, is the large and impressive church of Elkomenos Christos, which is considered the oldest on the rock.

It was built in the 6th or the 7th century, with the settlement of the first residents in the city. In its initial form it was a three-aisled, wooden-roofed basilica, with a narthex on the west and an arch on the east, where interiorly it created a large semi-circular synthronon. In the 11th century they added two other arches, of the prosthesis and the diaconicon, and they replaced the older marble screen with a new one, part of which is walled-in over the entrance of the church. Large scale works have been made probably in the 14th century, while in 1520, during the years of the first Venetian Occupation, the Catholic archbishop Arsenius provided a significant amount for carrying out repairs to the church. In 1538, another benefactor, the count of Corinth Georgios, whose surname on the inscription is corrupted as “Kougydas”, replaced the columns with pillars, in order to support the barrel-vaults that were built to replace the old wooden roof. In 1697, according to an inscription over the entrance, they added the exonarthex, the chapel on the south side and the dome in the middle, approximately, of the building. The church was destroyed in 1770 from the raid of the Turco-Albanians and was repaired a lot of times.

Its interior is decorated with remarkable works of the 17th and 18th century, mainly portable icons. Its marble screen, work by Georgios Kaparias from Tinos, was constructed in 1901, and replaced the older wooden-carved one. The most important relic of the church is the famous large icon of the Elkomenos, which dates from the 14th century and is an excellent example of the painting in the end of the Palaeologan era. The icon, which was stolen in 1979 and after they found it and restored it they kept it at the Byzantine Museum in Athens, returned to its normal area in 2011 and is exhibited at the chapel of Agios Ioannis.

Nowadays, the church is a Metropolitan one and celebrates on Good Thursday, while on the 23rd of May they celebrate the return of the icon to Monemvasia.



6th / 7th century


Good Thursday, 23 May

Holy Metropolis: 
Monemvasia and Sparta

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Laconia

Kato Poli

On foot


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