Thursday, February 20, 2014

Church of Panagia Faneromeni, Zante

Zante (Zakynthos) follows the iconographic tradition of the Renaissance period of the West, making all the Ionian Islands a distinct group within the Greek world.  One example of this tradition is the Church of Panagia Faneromeni, located near the Church of St Dionysios in the city of Zakynthos. Its beautiful icons, jewels and wood work show the great work of a number of Zantian artists, including Doxara and his pupils. 








This part of the island was once under water. The area within which the Church is located is called Ammos (Sand), whilst the Church has the name Virgin Mary Faneromeni (She who appears), because the icon of the Theotokos was found at the exact place where they later built the Church. The 15th century building was unfortunately destroyed during the 1953 earthquake; however, it was rebuilt using the same material, following the original format of the Church building and keeping the old bell tower, which was not destroyed. The few icons which survived are of immense importance and have been moved to the Museum of Post-Byzantine Art. 









A unique feature, not found in many Orthodox Churches, is the fact that the Ambo is very high up on the right wall of the Church. The Deacon, in order to stand on the Ambo, needs to go outside the Church and climb the stairs, located on the exterior wall. This makes the Ambo useless during the winter months and especially during rainy days. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful feature of this Church. This Church is also blessed and can boast on having within its area, a Saint of the Orthodox Church, Saint Theofilos, who lived just behind the Church. 





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