Thursday, July 10, 2014

St. George, Old Fortress, Corfu

The Orthodox Church of Saint George, located within the Old Fortress on the island of Corfu, was built during the period when the island was a British Protectorate (1815-1864). From afar it looks like an ancient Greek building; however, it was built in the 19th century. Construction began in 1840 in accordance with the design of the English military architect Anthony Emmett, so that the church could serve the religious needs of the British Garrison stationed in the Old Fortress. It belongs to the so-called “Georgian” style, a neo-classical architectural movement already prevalent in England during the period.

The structure of the church interior was originally divided into three sections by two rows of cast-iron columbs supporting a gallery, which ran round three sides of the building (Pi-shaped). It has been altered due to destruction suffered during the Second World War, and today it is single-aisled.

When the British withdrew from the Heptanese following the Union with Greece (May 21, 1864), the hitherto Anglican church was converted into an Orthodox place of worship. In 1864, the well-known Corfiot Voulgaris family donated to Saint George the stone iconostasis of Saint Spyridon, of which church it was the founder, with all its icons, attributed to the great 17th century painter Emmanouil Tzanes. Today, the Divine Liturgy is performed twice a year; temporary exhibitions as well as musical and other events are also held in the church. 

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