Historic Temples

Coordinates: 37.082380, 25.497604

Church of Panagia Drosiani

Near the village Moni, at central Naxos, is the only church of the Early Christian period that survives intact, the church of Panagia Drosiani which is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary.

It dates from the 6th or the 7th century and initially it was a small, aisleless church with a dome, which, after the successive adjacent structures that have been erected, has been transformed into a more complex architectural complex. It is the only triconch church in Naxos, that is it has a conch in each of the three sides, and the unique building with a dome of that period. At a later period, they added on the western side a vaulted expansion with bell towers over the gates. Later, the exact date is unknown, on the northern wall of the expansion they attached three aisleless chapels, two of them triconch as well, roofed with domes. One of them has been used as an ossuary and at its interior parts of wall paintings survive. The walls of the church are built in a clumsy and coarse way, from unrefined stones, like the domes, which are almost conic and are supported by heavy drums.

At the interior of the church, at the dome and the altar area, they have revealed the initial wall paintings, from the 7th century. They constitute the best preserved whole of icons from that period, which presents several unique peculiarities, like the representation of Christ as a young and as a mature man, on two medallions at the dome. Of great interest is the decoration of the northern conch of the altar area, which depicts the Panagia Nikopoios and Deiisi with five full bodied figures. The main characteristics of these early wall paintings are the calm, elegance and grace of the figures and the balance of the colors. From the inscriptions that survive at the interior of the church it is known that these icons were made with the donation of many people, and bishop Sisinius. The initial wall paintings were covered with successive layers of wall paintings that date back to the 14th century.

The church celebrates on the 8th of September.



6th-7th century


8 September

Holy Metropolis: 
Thera, Amorgos and the Islands

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades

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