Panagia of Meronas

The church of Panagia of Meronas (Virgin Mary of Meronas) is located in the center of the homonymous village in Rethymno prefecture and it is part of the province of Amari.

Of the nearly 20 churches in the village, the Panagia of Meronas is the reference point for every visitor proving the deep faith of the people during the centuries of its existence.

The existence of the church of Panagia of Meronas is connected to a local folktale, according to which, the locals saw a shining light coming from a bush. After they approached, they saw an icon of Virgin Mary at the roots of the bush and decided to build a settlement there.

The church of Panagia of Meronas is a domed basilica and consists of three naves. One nave is dedicated to Agios Georgios (Saint George), the other to the Assumption of Virgin Mary, while the third, and latest, the Apostles Peter and Paul.

The Kallergis himself attended to the wall painting of the Panagia of Meronas, as he brought icon-painters from Constantinople. Indeed, the family blazons are built in the outside walls of the church and can be found among the frescoes inside. The frescoes of the church, all depicting only the Saints, as time passed by, were covered by whitewash to avoid desecration. Today, apart from the dusty icons on the walls, you can also see valuable portable icons of the 14th and 15th century and the “Mona Lisa of Byzantium”, as it has been characterized, the icon of the Panagia Odigitria (She who leads). The wooden iconostasis is also very interesting as a typical example of the folk tradition of the 19th century.

During the recent excavations in the floor of the church of Panagia of Meronas, 13 unidentified graves were found.

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