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Aug 11
Last Updated on 22 September 2011

Panaghia Krena

Location

Panaghia Krena is one of the most beautiful small temples of Kampochora and of all the religious tradition in the island, both because of its own beauty and of the landscape around it. Although the exact date of construction remains unknown, it seems that the church was constructed at the end of the 12th century as a gift from Eustathios Codratos and his wife Eirene Doucaina Pagomeni, members of the imperial court of Constantinople.

It belongs to the insular octagonal architectural type and reproduces the catholicon (main church) of Nea Moni in a small degree. It comprises a domed naos, an esonarthex and an exonarthex, today completely ruined. The exonarthex is a later addition and was constructed in the 18th century. The hemispherical part of the dome collapsed during the catastrophic earthquake of 1881, along with the smaller dome of the narthex, which was reconstructed shortly thereafter. In the 13th century the greatest part of the interior was decorated by the donors with wall paintings, but five more layers of murals are preserved inside the building, characterizing how Chian art progressed over time. The irregularly built walls allow the sunlight to "revive" the church and its wonderful wall paintings differently according to the light of the day. In 1981-1984, the later layers of the wall paintings were detached from the interior walls and the original layer was completely uncovered.

A few years ago, the works for the maintenance of the church started and it is remarkable how the specialists have managed to separate and restore parts of all the painting styles Some of the detached wall paintings have already been restored and are on display, while the rest are still in the process of restoration. The detached wall paintings of the second Byzantine layer, depicting twelve prophets (dated to the end of the 14th century), as well as two marble slabs from the original iconostasis of the church are exhibited in the building for temporary exhibitions (Giustiniani Palace) in the Fortress of Chios. Parts of the murals which were painted by Michael Chomatzas in 1734 are also on display in the Byzantine Museum of Chios (Medjitie Mosque).

The foundations at the eastern part of the church were investigated in 1988 and again in 1995 by means of trial trenches. The roof of the church was consolidated and repaired in 1968. The west wall of the exonarthex was also consolidated in 1983 and the roof was partly repaired.

The monument is closed to the public (it opens only during the summer) due to restoration work inside the building and at the wall paintings.