Historic Temples

Coordinates: 37.084985, 25.151805

Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani

At the picturesque, Cycladic settlement of Paroikia is situated the most important monument in Paros, the famous Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a true masterpiece of Byzantine art with remarkable history. Already from the 16th century it is prevalent to be called Katapoliani, because it is located “kata tin polin”, that is close to the ancient city, or Ekatontapiliani (hundred gates), a name that states its magnificence, but is related with the legend that the church has 99 visible gates and one hidden, which will open when Constantinople returns into Greek hands again. 

It was founded in the first half of the 4th century, the period of Constantine the Great, as the fulfillment of the vow that Agia Eleni took to Virgin Mary, when she stopped to Paros due to rough sea on her way to the Holy Land. At this location there was already a small church of the Dormition of the Virgin, where Agia Eleni prayed, and either herself or her son built later the magnificent church. The building records the whole history of the island from antiquity to the present day. It has been constructed over the ruins of an ancient temple and they have used ancient building material in its construction. The church was initially a three-aisled, wooden-roofed basilica, but during the period of Justinian, in the 6th century, it was reconstructed and its wooden roof was replaced with a dome and vaults, like in the other Early Christian buildings. All over the complex, interventions there have carried out, post Byzantine and later, which depict the style of the conquerors and the traditional Cycladic architecture. The last intervention to the monument was its reconstruction, in the period 1959-1964 by the architect Anastasios Orlandos.

At the interior of the church there are impressive constructions, like the synthronon in the shape of a theatre and the only surviving Early Christian baldachin over the altar, which is supported by ancient columns, as well as the elaborate marble screen. Unique is the baptistery which survives on the south of the church, since it is the oldest and better preserved in Greece, with a marble baptismal font in the shape of a small cross. The small church of Agios Nikolaos which is next to the large church and dates from the beginning of the 4th century and it is possibly the small church of the Virgin Mary that was seen by Agia Eleni. The complex also includes the church of Agia Theodosia, a chapel of Agios Demetrios, an ecclesiastical museum and a hostel. It celebrates on the 15th of August.


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1st half of the 4th century

Early Christian

15 August

Holy Metropolis: 

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades

Parikia 84400

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