The monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis (St. John Lampadistis) is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List which includes nine other painted Byzantine churches of the Troodos range.
The exact founding date of the monastery is unknown. The katholicon (monastery church), which is dedicated to Saint Herakleidios, is dated to the 11th century. Among the wall-paintings of the narthex there is an inscription, dated to the 15th century, which describes this church as “katholiki”, i.e. the principal parish church of the village. According to other written sources the monastery functioned until the beginning of the 19th century. Since then it has been used as a church. In the middle of the 19th century a room of the monastic buildings was used as a classroom for the children of Kalopanagiotis and other neighbouring villages.
The group of buildings which survives today is the result of constructions and renovations of different periods. The main monastery church is a domed cross-in-square structure, dated to the 11th century. In the 12th century the chapel of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis was added to the north of the first church, above the tomb of the Saint. This second chapel collapsed and was almost entirely rebuilt in the 18th century. In the middle of the 15th century a common narthex was built to the west of the two churches.
During the second half of the 15th century a vaulted chapel was added to the north of that of Saint Ioannis. It became known as the 'Latin chapel' because of the assumption that it was built for the Latins (Catholics). Sometime between the 15th and the beginnings of the 18th century), a timber roof covered with flat hooked tiles sheltered the entire roof complex . As a result of its tripartite character, the building acquired an external image of a large building covered with a timber roof.
The wall-paintings of the monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis are in accordance with its architectural history. The apse of the southern church of Agios Herakleidios, as well as some other parts, preserve fragmentary scenes dated to the 11th and 12th century. The rest of the church was painted in the 13th and 14th century. These frescoes are an important group and include some rare representations, as is the depiction of the Holy Handkerchief on the north pier supporting the dome.
The decoration of the narthex belongs to a later date and is the work of an artist from Constantinople, who fled to Cyprus after the fall in 1453. These wall-paintings follow the trends of the Byzantine capital, but are not of such high quality.
On the contrary, the frescoes of the 'Latin' chapel, (dated to around 1500), belong to the 'Italo-byzantine' style, which combines Byzantine and Italian Renaissance elements. In fact, it is the most complete set of this style in Cyprus. The “Latin” chapel, if it is so, denotes the coexistence of the two rites under the same roof and reflects the atmosphere of tolerance which prevailed in Cyprus after the Council of Ferrara-Florence (1439).
Worth mentioning is the wooden templon screen, dated to the 13th -14th century, with painted decoration imitating coats-of-arms. It is in fact the oldest wooden templon of Cyprus. Another important element of the monastery is the relic of Saint Ioannis Lambadistis, which is preserved in a precious reliquary. It is in a special niche and on the wall above it there are many signatures of eponymous and anonymous pilgrims and travelers who had visited the monastery in the past.
Apart from the complex of the three churches there are other monastic buildings including cells, auxiliary rooms and an oil press. One of the rooms is used today to house icons from the monastery as well as other churches of the village of Kalopanagiotis.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.