Saint Spyridon Church

Corfu, Greece

Saint Spyridon Church is a Greek Orthodox church built in the 1580s. It houses the relics of Saint Spyridon and it is located in the old town of Corfu. It is a single-nave basilica and its bell tower is the highest in the Ionian Islands.

 In the 1580s, after the demolition of the private church, the Saint Spyridon remains were moved to their present location in a new church which was built within the city fortifications in the Campiello district of the old town. The bell tower of the church is similar in design to its contemporary Greek Orthodox church of San Giorgio dei Greci located in Venice. In 1831, Ioannis Kapodistrias, the 1st Governor of the Hellenic State, was assassinated outside the church.

Inside the church there is a crypt to the right of the iconostasis where the remains of the Saint are kept in a double sarcophagus. The larger of the two contains the smaller one in its interior and is wooden with silver leaf trim. The smaller sarcophagus is surfaced in red velvet and has a removable bottom to facilitate changing the slippers of the saint.

The lack of any underground chamber to house the remains of the saint was part of a deliberate design plan to make them as accessible as possible. In the crypt there are 53 incense burners hanging from the ceiling, 18 of which are golden and the rest made of silver.

The front of the marble iconostasis resembles the exterior of the entrance of a baroque-style church. The ceiling of the church is divided into segments depicting scenes from St. Spyridon's life and miracles. The original painter of the church ceiling was Panagiotis Doxaras who created the works in 1727. With the passage of time the Doxaras paintings rotted away and subsequently they were replaced by copies painted by Nikolaos Aspiotis, a member of the Aspiotis family of Corfu. The only remaining trace of Doxaras's work is the gilded border of the iconography.

Above the western door of the narthex the imperial coat of arms of the House of Romanov stands as a reminder that the church was under the nominal protection of Russia from 1807-1917. Near the same area a painting depicts the saint touching the head of Constantius II curing the emperor from illness.

The Venetian Senate offered a gilded silver lamp bearing the reliefs of the Saint and the lion of St. Mark in commemoration of the miracles of the Saint during the second great siege of Corfu in 1716. The lamp is hanging at the west corner of the nave near the women's quarters.



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Founded: 1580s
Category: Religious sites in Greece

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4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

MLy Wong (13 months ago)
Busy church. Beautiful. Panhandlers with young children at both entrances. Also at bridge leading to cab area just outside old town. Gave them some money. Something seemed wrong with how the adults treated the young kids. Did a search and came across some news articles about kids being abused by parents to panhandle while parents lived lifestyles much better than their children. I feel bad for the kids but unsure if giving them money encourages the parents to use their kids as a source of income, furthering the child abuse.
Danche Petreska (14 months ago)
One of the diamonds of Corfu is the church of St. Spyridon, makes your heart warm and pure with all the blessings you can receive. It's a lifetime experience I highly recommend.
Marin “SayanMk” Kolev (17 months ago)
Note: this is the "new" in-town church, that has been moved between the two fortresses, so it can be better protected. Of course nowadays this shouldn't matter, but still, it's the second of its name. The inside is cool, the outside amazes with how many people actually visit it. You can also use the church as a guiding beacon as it is easily seen across town while you're exploring. It had some special meaning for me as it carries my grandfather's name. You can enter from both sides.
Thomas K (2 years ago)
The beautiful cathedral dedicated to the patron of Corfu, Saint Spyridon, dates back to the 16th century. The iconic bell tower is the tallest in the Ionian islands. The interior is small but mystical and impressive. The ceiling looks amazing. The chamber featuring the tomb and relics of Saint Spyridon opens to visitors occasionally. Don’t miss it when in Corfu old town!
Penny Nieh (2 years ago)
beautiful church and interior design is also impressive! Must visit in Corfu old town! You could pay EUR 5 for lighting the long candle!
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