Saint Titus Church

Heraklion, Greece

Saint Titus church is one of the most important monuments in Heraklion. In 961, Nicephorus Phocas drove the Arabs from Crete, bringing the island back under the wing of the powerful Byzantine Empire. This is when the first Orthodox church of St Titus must have been built, to rekindle the Christian faith and tradition in Crete, which had declined due to the corsair conquest of the island.

Saint Titus was a disciple of the Apostle Paul and the first Bishop of Crete. The first church dedicated to him was that in the old capital Gortyn, which also housed the metropolitan see of the island until its destruction by earthquake and the Arab transfer of the capital from Gortyn to Chandax (Heraklion) in 828 AD.

The skull of St Titus, the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mesopanditissa and other sacred relics from Gortyn were moved to the new church.

At the fall of Heraklion to the Turks all relics were removed to Venice, where they still remain today. The single exception is the skull of St Titus, which was returned to Heraklion in 1966 and is now kept in a silver reliquary in the church.

During the period of Turkish rule, the church of Saint Titus was ceded to Vizier Fazil Ahmet Kiopruli, who converted it into a mosque known as the Vezir Mosque.

The great earthquake of 1856 totally destroyed the church. It was rebuilt in its present form as an Ottoman mosque by architect Athanasios Moussis, who also designed the Orthodox cathedral of Saint Minas and the barracks in Eleftherias Square.

The minaret of Saint Titus was demolished in the 1920s, when the last Muslims left Heraklion with the exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. Today Saint Titus is an Orthodox church dedicated to St Titus the Apostle, following modifications carried out by the Church of Crete in 1925.

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Details

Founded: 16th century
Category: Religious sites in Greece

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Manos Kornarakis (8 months ago)
Very beautiful big church at the middle of city center ,there are a big square in the front and smaller at the back which is beautiful with trees around.The church is one of the biggest at Heraleion with beautiful painting inside.the feeling inside is one off a kind . beautiful place.
Artūrs Laizāns (8 months ago)
The plaque next to the church describes that skull of priest Titos's is displayed inside. Went inside, but found no skull.
Tia (8 months ago)
Beautiful church. I attended during mass, very special ceremony. You feel that you can understand the culture on a deeper level. I felt welcomed, enjoyed the experience.
Olivier Cechura (10 months ago)
Very nice Orthodox church with a rich history
Bartosz Samitowski (10 months ago)
One of the main historical places to see in Heraklion. The oldest church in the area (Xth ce)
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