Church of the Panaghia

To the left of the primary school building overlooking Pounta Square a street leads into the stepped path which winds up to the church of the Panaghia, below the sum mit of the hill to the east. As you approach the first bend, the Roman marble bust of a robed male figure comes into view, erected above an arch in the modern cemetery wall ahead: it gives an intimation that this is the heart of the area occupied by the settlement of Ancient Pholegandros. The clearest evidence of this is the long stretch of Hellenistic retaining wall inside the cemetery enclosure (second level, back left) on which the chapel of Aghia Anna sits. The face of the wall is bisected transversely by a carefully executed ‘rope-course’ of masonry, which separates the courses of ‘ballooning’ stone blocks below, from the flatter more finished masonry above. The wall must date from the late 4th or early 3rd century bc. Further up the hill and in the surrounding area are the vestigial re mains of ancient habitation. The church of the Panaghia itself may occupy the site of a pagan place of worship, which in turn was replaced by an Early Christian church. As you enter the forecourt, some plain ancient column fragments and statue bases can be seen: one of the latter still preserves the tips of the bronze feet of a (probably Roman) statue which stood on it, with the lead filling still visible within the toes. Above, embedded in the lower south wall of the bell-tower, is the robed torso of a Roman funerary statue in marble. The church itself dates from c. 1820, when it was rebuilt to replace an earlier 17th century church to which the carved marble west door frame and the inscription just to the right of the entrance belonged. Inside the spacious interior, the iconostasis and the throne in a grey-white Tiniot marble are the work of the sculptor from Tinos, Konstantinos Kaparias.

Folegandros Island is part of the Cyclades Island Group, Greece.

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