The Panaghia Krina

(The church, currently finishing a long restoration-programme is in a solitary location, signposted, mid-way between Sklavia and Vavi­li.)

Sophisticated in design and beautifully decorated with blind arches and lively brick patterns on the exterior and with paintings inside, this is a church close in date and in architectural conception to Nea Moni. It appears to have been a 12th century Constantinopolitan commission, donated by two members of the Imperial Court, Eustathius Codratos and Irene Doucaina Pagomene—though both the reason for its commission and the remote setting remain unclear. The presence of pagan and Early Christian spolia in the outer belfry-wall, the threshold, and beside the entrance of the narthex (column bases, fragments of cornice and a frieze with garlanded bucrania etc.), suggests preceding buildings, going perhaps as far back as a pagan shrine, on this spot. From outside, the similarities to Nea Moni are clear: the dynamic profile—a steep drum and cupola over the sanctuary with another, smaller dome over the narthex; the materials and brick patterns (especially the decorated lunette over the narthex entrance); and the long linear axis preceding the naos , through an exonarthex (18th century) and a transverse narthex (12th century). Once inside, the dignified and luminous octagonal naos is even more redolent of Nea Moni.
   It is from this church that the two series of wall paintings exhibited in Chios (the 14th century paintings from the cupola, in Palazzo Giustiniani, and the upper layer of 18th century paintings from the naos , in the Byzantine Museum: see pp. 27–29) have been removed so as to reveal the original 12th century paintings which now decorate the main area and which are of a quality which suggests the hand of an artist from Constantinople. Some small areas of the upper layer of 18th century paintings by Michael Chomatzas (1734) are preserved—of particular note, the allegorical scene to the left of the passage between the narthex and the naos , depicting an extravagantly dressed merchant holding a naked, allegorical figure by the hair, whose clearly urgent meaning remains nonetheless obscure.
  A little more than a kilometre south from Panaghia Krina, towards Sklavia, standing to the east of the road in the midst of a landscape densely covered with olive, mulberry and cypress, is a large corbelled Genoese pyrgos dating from the 15th/16th century. This is a good example of the kind of building, mentioned above, which formed the nucleus of the private estates of the Kampos area and which were often replaced by, or incorporated into, the later villas that survive in greater numbers today.

Chios Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island group
Chios town and the Kampos area. The Panaghia Krina.


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