Church of the Life Giving Spring

The Church of the Life Giving Spring is located between the villages Koufos and Alikianos and is 14 km from Chania. The locals call it also Ai Kir Yannis from the name of the founder St. John the Hermit or Xenos.

The Church of the Life Giving Spring is estimated to be built in 1030, but over the centuries, there have been many changes and new architectural elements have been added. It belongs to the architectural style of the domed cruciform, with intense projecting lateral arms of the cross.

Inside the Church of the Life Giving Spring, the internal walls are covered with two layers of frescoes. Although the conservation status is not very good, it was the work of a highly qualified craftsman. Standing, frontal representations of saints are depicted on the walls and half-length portraits on the groin vault.

The second layer depicts the Panagia Platytera on the arch, full-length and half-length portraits of saints, scenes of the evangelical circle. Among the scenes in place of the later, masonry temple, by St. John the Hermit is represented among students.

The Church of the Life Giving Spring had been severely damaged over the centuries and was restored, initially by residents and then, around 1950, by the academia A. Orlandos.

Recently in the Church of the Life Giving Spring extensive restorations and maintenance of the wall paintings took place. During the foundation works, excavations were undertaken inside the church and around the perimeter of the temple, during which a Middle Byzantine cemetery was revealed, with use from the 11th to the 19th century. During the restoration work, the temple’s dome was also rebuilt.