Agios Frangiskos (Saint Fransis Church)

Agios Frangiskos (Saint Fransis Church) in Rethymno prefecture is a church in the city of Rethymno and one of the most important monuments of the city.

The church of Agios Frangiskos with its impressive architecture and the sculptural decoration was erected during the Venetian period and was the main church of the Order of Franciscans. During the Turkish occupation, the Katholikon (main church) was turned into a poorhouse and later, in 1796, a girls’ school was built next to the church. The original building of the school has been demolished and in its place, in 1890, another one was built that operates as a primary school until today.

Agios Frangiskos is a single-nave timber-roofed basilica, while outside the church to the east of the church, two ruined chapels are preserved. The first is cross-vaulted and the other has pillars, capitals and marble arches.

The richly decorated Renaissance doorway entrance with Corinthian capitals is what stands out mostly in the church of Agios Frangiskos.

The church was used as a venue for cultural events until 1996 and it has been restored after that by the 28th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities in order to house the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of the Rethymno prefecture. Important archaeological finds, with the tombs of two Venetian nobles among them, were revealed after the excavations in the temple.

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