Tessaron Martyron church

Tessaron Martyron (Four Martyrs) in Rethymno prefecture is a church in the capital of the prefecture, east of Tessaron Martyron Square outside the Old Town.

Tessaron Martyron Church has been built in a place where older churches stood and near the place of four Christian Martyrs’ martyrdom in 1824. The first church was founded in 1905 by Bishop of Rethymno and Avlopotamos, Dionysius Kastrinogiannakis, but it was never completed and in 1947 it was demolished as groggy. In its place, a much smaller temple was built, which also was demolished in 1972 only to give its place to the present-day church, the opening of which took place on December 28, 1975.

On the iconostasis of the three-nave Tessaron Martyron Church there are icons by Fotis Kontoglou, the Byzantine writer and icon-painter, such as Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and Four Martyrs, dated from 1955.

In the Sanctuary of the temple, there is an ossuary where the Holy Skulls of Three of the Four Martyrs are conserved. In the basement of the church there is the chapel of St. Savvas the Sanctified (December 5).

The Four Martyrs George, Angelis, Manouil and Nikolaos were born and lived in Melampes Rethymno region and were crypto-Christians, pretending that they had embraced Islam. In 1824 when the revolution was suppressed in Crete, the Turks arrested them and led to Mehmet, Turkish Pasha of Rethymno, who tried to persuade them to return to Islam, without result though. The Four Martyrs were imprisoned, tortured and beheaded on October 28, 1824 at Megali Porta (Great Gate). Nowadays they are celebrated as protectors of the city. Their relics are divided among the monastery of Arkadi, Rethymno, Melampes and elsewhere.

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