VAVILI (Village) CHIOS
The church belongs to the insular octagonal architectural type, and in a small degree reproduces the catholicon (main church) of Nea Moni. It comprises a domed naos, an esonarthex and an exonarthex, today completely ruined. The domed naos and the esonarthex were built at the end of the 12th century while the exonarthex is a much later addition, constructed in the 18th century. The greatest part of the interior is covered with wall paintings dated to the 12th century.
The church was constructed at the end of the 12th century. It was donated by Eustathios Codratos and his wife, Eirene Doucaina Pagomeni, both belonging to the imperial court of Constantinople. The donors decorated the church with wall paintings but five more layers of murals are preserved inside the building. During the catastrophic earthquake of 1881, the hemispherical part of the dome collapsed, along with the smaller dome of the narthex, which was reconstructed shortly thereafter.
The foundations at the eastern part of the church were investigated by means of trial trenches in 1988 and again in 1995. The roof of the church was consolidated and repaired in 1968. In 1983 the west wall of the exonarthex was also consolidated and the roof was partly repaired. In 1981-1984, the later layers of the wall paintings were detached from the interior walls and the original layer was completely uncovered.
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 monument is closed to the public (it opens only during the summer) due to restoration work inside the building and at the wall paintings.
Among the countless churches and the small picturesque chapels which
decorate the colonizings of the Municipality of Kampochora, the church of Panagia
Krina holds a special place. Between the colonizings of Vavili, Halkios and Zifias,
surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape with olive groves and pine trees,
the temple resists vigorously to the passing of time and carries its history to
the present day. It is considered to be a golden ring in the chain of the religious
tradition of the island. The initial temple was built in the 12th century, the
outer one was added in the 18th century. As owners of the initial temple are mentioned
Eustathios Kordatos and his wife Irene Doukena Pagomeni, who belonged to the imperial
court of Constantinople.
The shape of the temple is octagonal and looks like the one of Nea Moni, keeping however its unique brightness, with the irregularly built walls allowing the sunlight to "revive" the church and its wonderful wallpaintings differently according to the light of the day. The first hagiographies were made, according to an inscription, in 1197. But inside the temple there are five more different kind of hagiographies, each from a different period, that are maintained until today and give the visitor an image of the development of the art of painting in Chios. The second decoration, of the Byzantine period, was done at the end of the 14th century. From this the icons of the twelve prophets have been rescued and are now exhibited at the . The paintings of the third period, also Byzantine, can be seen on the wall of the North and the South temple, while the ones of the post-Byzantine period remain in the Altar.
In the year 1734 the whole temple was almost covered by the hagiographies of the artist Michael Homatza and after the destructive earthquake of 1881, the paintings of the Ruler of Everything and the Angels were painted on the dome. 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. These maintenance works continue until today.
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