The Byzantine church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary
The scholar name “Panaxiotissa”, probably the only such name in the Christian Orthodox religion, refers to the Virgin Mary and has been interpreted as “the one who conquered all”.
A unique monument!
The Byzantine church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary called “Panagia Panaxiotissa” is situated in an idylllic landscape amongst olive trees and pine trees, 2 km north of the village of Gavrolimni, near the old national road connecting Antirio with Messolonghi-Agrinio. The scholar name “Panaxiotissa”, probably the only such name in the Christian Orthodox religion, refers to the Virgin Mary and has been interpreted as “the one who conquered all”. Most researchers date the monument back to the 2nd half of the 10th century.
The architectural form of the church is cruciform inscribed temple with a dome and belongs to the category of “Greek transitional churches”. On the east side there are three semicircular arches and on the west side a narthex (entrance hall). Three entrances (one on each side of the narthex) lead to the interior space of the church. On the roof we can clearly see the shape of the cross, in the center of which there is the raised dome with freezes in its endings, while the corner compartments have a lower roof.
Inside the church is covered with vaults. Limestone, mortar, brick lines (single, double or even multiple) in horizontal layers, toothed strips, etc., were used in its construction The lightweight elegant dome, the work of truly talented stone masons, is built with bricks only, and it constitutes an excellent example of a pottery-like pattern (toothed strips surround the brick-built windows, frieze with diamond shapes, etc.). During Byzantine times the interior walls of the church had murals of which only the representation of Saints Constantine and Helen is still preserved today.
A significant number of visitors gather each year for the mass service on the second day of Easter and taste the offered delicacies amid traditional dancing.
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