Churches of Paros
Some of the churches in Paros
Religious tourism in Paros
In Paros as well as in all the islands of the Cyclades complex, there are hundreds of churches. Parish churches, chapels, country churches in the countryside and small private churches inside the surrounding fence of many houses. Simple churches, without any special decorations, samples of the Aegean architecture that dominates in Paros, mainly white, with blue domes. With the exception of a few small churches that date back to the pro-Byzantine and the Byzantine period, most of Paros' churches were built after the 17th century and mainly during the 20th century.
The size and the form of each church depends on the financial status of the person who builds it, since the churches in Paros are built by wealthy Parians who have made a vow, by sailormen that have been in danger, by the faithful and by farmers who build churches in their fields. The name of the saint to who the church is dedicated gradually becomes the name of the area where the church is located (Agii Anargiri, Agios Andreas etc.)
Today in Paros there are 450 churches, 150 of which are located in villages and the rest of which are country churches, in the countryside.
In Paros, churches are divided in two categories; the majority of Paros churches are basilicas (about 360) and the rest of them are churches with domes (about 70). These churches are made of schist and marble that exist in large quantities in Paros as well as of marble that came from paleo-Christian or ancient monuments.
The architecturally and historically most important churches are:
The church of the Holy Trinity
The imposing and glorious church if the Holy Trinity in Paros dominated to the east of the village of Lefkes. Its construction started in 1830 at the location of the three small churches that were dedicated to the Ascension of Christ, to St. George and to St. Anna and it was finished in 1835. This imposing church of Paros is a three-aisled basilica with the roof of its middle aisle more elevated than the others. At the western side of the church there is an entrance (propylaea) which is supported by four double marble Ionic columns with arch openings on its three sides, while on the fourth there are the three gates of the church, the middle one being the tallest and the most imposing one. Over this gate there is a built-in ceramic representation of the Holy Trinity, a creation of the potter Virginia Foifa-Kydonieos. Over the entrance there is the church loft.
At the exterior of the church, the roof is gable. It is one of the few churches of Paros that are covered with pantiles. The interior of the church is glorious. The central aisle is covered by an arch, while the side aisles are covered by groined-vaults. The aisles are defined by two colonnades, composed of four marble columns each, which are joined together by arches. The marble iconostasis has fine sculpted decoration and it is a creation of a marble sculptor from Tinos, whose name is unknown to us. The frescos and the icons of the church are samples of the popular icon painting of the 19th century and of later icon painters. In front of the church there is a spacious marble paved yard with a marble gate with columns and a gable.
The church of the Holy Trinity of Paros has been characterized by the Ministry of Culture as an historical preservable monument. All the marble parts of the church are made of white Parian marble. The bell towers, real masterpieces, are exceptional samples of the work of popular marble sculptors.
The chapels of St. Constantine and of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary
These two chapels, located at the top of the castle of Parikia, are two of the most interesting monuments of Paros.
Saint Constantine is a one-aisled basilica with a dome, with a one-arched step bell tower, a marble door with relief decoration and a small courtyard, supported by three columns ending in four arches.
It is a cross-in-square church on the central street of Paroikia, in Paros. At its southern part it is adjacent to Saint Paraskevi. There are very interesting icons and frescos in this church.
It is an arched chapel, which is adjacent to the Frankish tower of the Castle. It is a white small church, constructed of marble parts that come from ancient temples. The altar is based on the shaft of an ancient column.
Saint Nicolas Thalassitis
It is a cross-in-square church with an octagonal dome and a one-arched step belfry. It is located at the entrance of the port of Parikia, in Paros; therefore many visitors come to worship and light a candle at his grace.
The Holy Trinity and Saint Paraskevi
These are two-aisled chapels at the market of Parikia. The two chapels have a common flat-roofed narthex, on which there is a one-arched belfry. The dates of their construction are carved on their marble entrances (1622 – 1626). Behind the sanctuary of the Holy Trinity there is the beautiful marble fountain of Mavrogenis.
Saint John the Theologue
It is one of the oldest country churches of Paros dating back to the Byzantine period (12th-13th century), which is located in Kato Marathi, on the way from Parikia to Lefkes. It is a small snow-white church with a dome, which is visible from the street through the vineyards.
It is a small church in the settlement Sotires, which dates back to the end of the 13th century. It is a basilica with a cylindrical dome on the outside, while on the inside it has the shape of a truncated cone.
It is located at the entrance of the picturesque port of Naoussa, across the Venetian castle. It is a simple church, a one-aisled vaulted basilica, with an arched belfry. The illuminated castle and the small church give a beautiful note to the small port of Naoussa and it is a spot where all the visitors and the tourists of Paros stop.
Saint Nicolas Mostratos
Built in the traditional settlement of Naoussa, it is composed of a one-aisled vaulted basilica and a flat-roofed narthex. It has a beautiful belfry with marble balusters. It also has a gilt-edged woodcut byzantine iconostasis.
It is located at the village Marmara of Paros and was built in 1608. Its main characteristic is its one-arched straight belfry and the main entrance, which was constructed of dark flint, a quite rare material.
It is a vaulted basilica, a bit outside the village Marmara. The three arches that connect the two aisles are based on ancient columns. The northern aisle is dedicated to the birth of the Virgin Mary and the southern to Saint Nicolas. To reach to the church you have to pass through tall eucalyptuses.
Saint George Thalassitis
It is a small chapel in Marpissa that is composed of three aisles. One of them has a dome while the other two have arched roofs. The aisles are connected with arches, which are based on ancient marble columns. The church has a two-arched belfry and a gilt-edged woodcut iconostasis, dedicated to the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
It is a two-aisled chapel in Apano Chorio of Lefkes (1726). It has an imposing tower-like belfry and two bells, while the two aisles and the two narthexes are connected by four short domes.
Frangomonastirion (The Franciscan Monastery)
It is located close to Ekatontapiliani. It was founded in 1680 by Capuchin Franciscan friars. It belongs to the Catholic Archdiocese of Naxos, which also looks after its preservation. During the summer, a Divine Liturgy is celebrated every Sunday by a catholic parish priest.