Saint George Catholic / Αγιος Γεώργιος Καθολικός - Παλαιοχώρα Αίγινας

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Agios Georgios Katholikos - Saint George Catholic

Text by Louise O'Brien


The Church of Agios Georgios Katholikos, or the "Panagia (Virgin) Phoritissa", dominates the small square of Paleachora, the only square in the upper settlement and known as "Phorou" square. The name Phoritissa must come from the fact that it stands near this square, in what was the settlements’ marketplace ["Phorus" translates into "tax", or tithe?]. The church seems to have been originally named the Panagia Maria Mesouritissa, but when the relic was brought the name was changed. A Latin inscription on a slab built into the masonry above the entrance refers to an inspection carried out in April 1533 by the Venetian governor of Nauplion, Antonio Barbaro, the last counsellor of Nauplion responsible for Aegina. Four years later Paleachora was destroyed and never recovered Location: Take the left path up the hill of Paleachora. Special interest: Architecturally the style is a variant on the single-aisled churches – the sanctuary is transverse with the apse in the NE end, off the main church axis. It is mainly built of rubble masonry with some poros blocks at the corners, ancient marble stones were also used in the west wall and the altar. The bell tower is a later addition. The frescoes were painted in different stages – the first before the 17th - century can be made out on the north wall, a few bits of drapery and a band of red. The hierarchs on the north wall, the "Man of Sorrows" in the north niche of the sanctuary and the Virgin on the sanctuary asp dome come from later, during the 17th century. It is noted that the "Man of Sorrows" depiction had particularly deep religious significance and resonates with churches on Crete and Patmos.

Legend - History: This is where the last Catalan ruler of Aegina placed the holy relic of St. George’s skull which had removed from Levadia in 1393 when the Catalans lost the duchy of Athens. The holy relic was much prized and King Peter of Spain lll ordered his General Rokaverti to bring it to Barcelona when he returned from his campaigning in Greece, but he never carried out this order. When the Venetians conquered Aegina they took the skull from Paleachora on 12th November 1462 It was transported from Aegina by Vettore Cappello, the famous Venetian commander, to the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, in Venice. An inscription in the Yannoulis church of the Virgin tells of the desperation of the village’s inhabitants, describing the year when the relic was taken as an "ill-fated" one. In order to compensate the angry leaders of Paleachora – who had not only lost their precious relic but also the income derived from pilgrims coming to venerate it - the Venetians gave them 100 ducats each to fortify the settlement. Other: After the Venetians left an inscription tells how the church was re-consecrated by the Greek Orthodox community.

Sources: Byzantine Aigina (2005), C. Pennas, Athens, trans: David Hardy and

Από τους πρώτους ναούς της Καστροπολιτείας του Αργοσαρωνικού στην Αίγινα που θα συναντήσει ο επισκέπτης είναι αυτός του Αγίου Γεωργίου του Καθολικού. Ο ναός φέρει και την ονομασία «Παναγία η Φορίτισσα» διότι βρισκόταν στην κεντρική πλατεία της Παλιαχώρας (forum- αγορά). Είναι ναός πανέμορφος, επιβλητικός και με αξιοπρόσεκτη αρχιτεκτονική. Μετά την από δεκαετίας ανακαίνισή του από ιδιωτικό φορέα, βρίσκεται σε άριστη κατάσταση τόσο το κτίριο όσο και οι σωζόμενες αγιογραφίες του.

Τέλος σε αυτόν το ναό φυλασσόταν η κάρα του Αγίου Γεωργίου που οι Καταλανοί κατακτητές είχαν φέρει από τη Λειβαδιά το 1393. Δυστυχώς η κάρα ταξίδεψε προς τη Βενετία σε αντάλλαγμα για το κτίσιμο του κάστρου της Παλιαχώρας. Αξίζει να σημειώσει κανείς ότι η «παραξενιά» και το ενδιαφέρον αρχιτεκτονικά αυτού του ναού είναι ότι λόγω της κατεύθυνσης του κτίσματος που επηρεάστηκε από τη διαμόρφωση του εδάφους, το ιερό είναι το ποθετημένο κάθετα προς τον κύριο άξονα του ναού. Πάνω από την κεντρική είσοδο του ναού συναντάμε λατινική επιγραφή του Βενετού Διοικητού του Ναυπλίου που ήταν υπεύθυνος διοικητικά για την Αίγινα (1533). Χαρακτηριστικές είναι οι αγιογραφίες της «Άκρας Ταπείνωσης» οι «Ιεράρχες», οι «Άγιοι Θεόδωροι», ο «Άγιος Γεώργιος».


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Comments (55)

Alina Sbitneva on October 21, 2013

Very interesting interior of the ancient church.

L Alina

dziwnowik on October 21, 2013

♥♥♥✰✰✰ I ♥ church ✰✰✰♥♥♥

♥ ♥ ♥ ✰✰✰ YSL ✰✰✰ ♥ ♥ ♥

greetings from Poland , Peter ♥

stanito on October 22, 2013

interesting and good photo! LIKE

Dida from Augsburg on October 23, 2013

Beautiful ancient church and interesting information - Like!



Alireza Javaheri on October 23, 2013

Nice shot & Beautiful Photo * L I K E *

  • Thanks for your nice comments
    • best wishes - A-J
makis-GREECE ® on October 23, 2013

Πολύ όμορφη εικόνα Βασιλική!!



Ana María Ossorio Ló… on October 25, 2013

Very interesting and beautiful interior!--like 46 YS 17--AnaM

Inge Röpke on October 27, 2013

♥Interesting historical place. Nice capture….. LIKE47!!! Greetings from Sweden, Inge:))))♥

Fernando Silverio on October 28, 2013


Αρεσει πολυ σαν θεμα αλλα και της φωτογραφησης λογω της τεχνικης σε κλειστο χωρο με φυσικο φωτισμο !!! Α+Α

Zdzisław Ignarski on October 30, 2013

Such a nice shot I Like it so much. Frendly greetings from Poland. See my city😘

adriana bruno on November 18, 2013

LIKE, molto interessante. Ottimo scatto!!!! Un saluto, Adriana

Giannino Lux on January 8, 2014

magnificent old church - L I K E - The best wishes from ROME - Gianni

Zsuzsanna Bánfalvi on January 24, 2014

Very, very beautiful old church !


My friendly greetings,Natuska

Vassiliki Argiriou on February 14

My Dearest Panoramio Friends,

Thank you very much for your visit to this photo and your kind comments and compliments! Τhank you so much for YSL 19/55! Glad to travel with you in unexpected places through the wonderful world of photography!

All my best wishes, Vassiliki!

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Photo taken in Aegina, Greece

This photo was taken indoors

Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 10, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Vassiliki Argiriou
    • Camera: Canon PowerShot G10
    • Taken on 2013/09/22 14:46:30
    • Exposure: 0.300s
    • Focal Length: 6.10mm
    • F/Stop: f/2.800
    • ISO Speed: ISO400
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash