Monday, November 11, 2013

The Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, Rhodes

Next to the port of the Greek island of Rhodes, stands proudly the Church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, which is the Cathedral Church of the Metropolis of Rhodes. The construction of the Church commenced during the Italian occupation of the island and was completed in 1929. Its prototype was the Church of Saint John the Baptist, patron of the Knight’s’ Order of Rhodes, located at the south of the palace of the Great Magister (Castello), destroyed in 1856 when a lightning caused a catastrophic explosion in the powder-keg situated at the dungeons of the temple.

Architecturally, the temple belongs to the wooden-roof, tripartite basilica. Initially it was Roman –Catholic with Roman Catholic decoration, big alabaster windows and it was dedicated to St. John (St. Giovanni). After the incorporation of Dodecanese to Greece (1947), the Church was vested to the Greek government. It was renovated on Greece’s expenses and donations of individuals and was transformed into an Orthodox Church; therefore, being dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary. The pyramidal gothic-rhythm apses were changed in Byzantine-rhythm arches. The brick floor was replaced with marble plaques.

From 1951 to 1961, during the office of Archbishop Spyridon from Kefallonia, the impressive and rich hagiography of the Church was completed by the great painter Fotis Kontoglou, assisted by Ioannis Terzis and Pantelis Othampasis.

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