One of the most interesting examples of the Romanesque of the Ribeira Sacra and of Galicia is, without a doubt, the Church of San Miguel, commonly known as O Mosteiro.
It belonged to a former Benedictine monastery founded by Escladia Ordoñez in the 12th century, but it lost its independence in 1507, when the Catholic Monarchs ordered alterations in the Galician monasteries. Their incomes went to the Royal Hospital of Santiago and the nuns there were confined to the monastery of San Paio de Antealtares in Santiago de Compostela.
From the old monastery only the Romanesque church is kept, which is dated from the second half of the 12th century.
The church´s layout is very simple: a single nave with a semicircular apse. Between the nave and the apse there is another cross nave, on which is located a rectangular tower, covered the four sides, that makes the collection one of the most original examples of the Galician Romanesque.
The northern gate is one of the most interesting parts of the church. It is made up of a small semicircular arch. The moulding is decorated with chess motifs. It has twelve voussoirs, eleven of them are decorated with a few rosettes, unusual decoration in Galicia, and the keystone is an Agnus Dei. The tympanum is very simple and is geometric decorated with intertwined circles.
If something draws our attention in this gate is their quoins, decorated with an original tetramorph. On the right, there are two figures with human head and animal body. That to the inside has hooves and horns and on his head 'LU' is written. At his side, the human head has animal body with claws, and 'MA' is written on his head. It would represent the evangelists Luke (with his ox attribute) and Marcus (with its attribute the Lion). Opposite, there is a curious representation of John and Matthew. We can see a human head with wings (John and its attribute the Eagle) and a hand is placed on the chin of that head to represent Matthew (human). Inside, we find interesting pieces, such as a mullioned window with horseshoe arches, which tell us about a previous temple, or its baptismal font. It preserves remains of wall paintings from the 16th century, representing a Final Judgement.
In addition, it keeps a wide range of capitals and corbels with interesting iconography, which have given rise to many interpretations.
To reach the church of San Miguel from Ferreira de Pantón, we must take the road towards Escairón. In just five minutes we will turn right at a road that will take us directly to the Church.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.