church is of the octagonal, two-column, cross-in-square type, and was built
in the 12th century A.D. The semi-hexagonal apse dominates the east side, and
a narthex was later added on the west. The walls are built in the careless "cloisonne"
masonry on the upper part and of rubble stones (large blocks or ancient spolia)
with limited use of brick ornaments. Fragments of wall paintings, dated to the
12th century, have survived inside the church. "Sgrafitti" of ships are preserved
on the stucco of the wall paintings of the narthex.
Although the area is full of antiquities dating from the ancient
and Byzantine era, neither the church nor the settlement of Lygourio are mentioned
in Byzantine and post-Byzantine literary sources. The first reference to the castle
of Lygourio dates from the middle of the 15th century. The church might have been
the catholicon (main church) of a monastery, a suggestion supported by the remains
of Middle-Byzantine walls found in the vicinity, probably belonging to a monastery.
The church has been restored and the surrounding area has been remodelled by the
5th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities.
In Lygourio and the surrounding area, several more important monuments
are to be seen:
the aisless church of St. Athanase, dated to 1622,
the church of Panaghia, of the four-column, cross-in-square, domed type,
built in 1701,
the domed, cross-in-square church of St. John Theologos, built in the middle
of the 11th century,
the post-Byzantine cross-in-square church of St. Marina, and the single-aisled
church of St. Mercourios,
the catholicon of a destroyed monastery, founded in the early phase of the