Thursday, November 21, 2013

Roman Catholic Church of St Mark, Zante

The Roman Catholic Church of St Mark the Evangelist was constructed in the early 17th century and was reconstructed twice (747 and 1894). Inside the Church were valuable relics, remarkable icons, big organ, artistic candlesticks, valuable sacerdotal vestments and sacred vessels. Near the church was a building with voluminous library and wide picture gallery.

The Church – also known by many people in Zante as the jewel of the island – was completely destroyed by the destructive earthquake of 1953, as did most of the city of Zakynthos. Unfortunately, most of the interior was burnt by the big fire, which broke out after the earthquake.

During the 1960s the present church building was constructed, maintaining the external characteristics of the old church. Currently there are no more Roman Catholic Churches on the island of Zakynthos. Until the 1960s there was a permanent priest who served the Roman Catholics of the island. However, because of the destructions of the earthquake, most of the Catholics, as many of the other citizens of the island, moved to other parts of Greece, primarily Athens, and other countries. Today, the priest of the Roman Catholic Church of Patras (on the mainland) spiritually cares for the few Roman Catholic residents of the Ionian Island. Additionally, during the summer months, this small church cares spiritually for the foreign visitors of Zakynthos.

Ecclesiastically, Zante belongs to the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Corfu-Zakynthos-Kefalonia. The Roman Catholic Archbishop has his sear in Corfu. 

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