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Church of Panaghia Hodeghetria

Last Update: Dec 2005
Churches, Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Monuments APOLPENA , LEFKADA , GREECE

Church of Panaghia Hodeghetria - Photo Gallery

Church of Panaghia Hodeghetria - Overview

   The monument is located in the village of Apolpaina, 2 km. to the south of Leucas. It is a single-aisled, wooden-roofed church, with a three-sided apse at the east, which has a bilobe window. The walls are built with unworked stones but the lower parts and the apse are distinguished by the use of the "cloisonne" masonry (stones enclosed by bricks). The main entrance is in the north wall of the church. Fragments of the wall paintings are preserved on the south and east walls of the interior. The east wall was covered with a monumental representation of the Ascension, which has been removed and is now kept in the Byzantine Museum of Athens.
   The church of Panaghia Hodeghetria was the catholicon (main church) of a monastery. It was built in the middle of the 15th century and is one of the oldest Byzantine monuments on Leucas. According to tradition, in this monastery hermited Helen Palaeologhina, sister of John VIII Palaeologos and mother-in-law of the last duke of Leucas, Leonardos II Tokkos. The iconographic program of the wall paintings in the church is probably connected to her. The frescoes are dated to the middle of the 15th century and are distinguished for the fine workmanship. In the beginning of the 18th century, the church became the metochion (dependence) of the monastery of Saint John Theologos at Karya, and had considerable real estate until 1927, when it was purchased by the Greek state.
   The south wall of the enclosure and its north supporting wall were reconstructed in 1977. The lintel of the gate of the circuit wall and its Byzantine inscription were cleared and restored and the pictorial decoration of the walls was freed of all the recent coatings. Consolidation work of the masonry was carried out in 1960 and 1980.
   The monument is used as a church but opens only on certain days of the year.
   In 1960, the greatest part of the wall paintings, which were painted over, was revealed. Their cleaning was completed in 1969, under the auspices of the Archaeological Society, and 14 fragments were removed and transferred to the conservation workshop of the Byzantine Museum in Athens.

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