Byzantine Church

The Holy – Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Doliche

The Holy Church is built on an after Roman bath according to finding of the excavation in 2002.

Today’s shape is the result of the 1512 restoration according to a found inscription on a stone where the donors are also commemorated. The Church has a one-room Vasiliki and teo narthexes of which the first has ao dome. In the north side of the Vasiliki there are openings leading to the respective nave on the wall there are still today obvious the successive phases of building.

The ceramic floor, which replaced the old stone one, is a copy of three original floors which were found during the restoration in 2002 destroyed by burying or newer operations. The chemical structure of the old floors which have a lack of limestone, which are in abundance in the area is important.

The hagiographic cycle present a special interest, as the Church is painted in the midway of the transition from the Macedonian to the Cretan school, holding obvious elements of its precious hagiography. There is a stong influence of the tranquility movement with calm figures with the culmination of the painting of saint Gregory Palamas in the arch of the dome, as a monk with ilatirio. There are representations reminding in the topic and technic saint Nicholas Orphan from Thesaloniki and the monasteries in Meteora. The colours are earthly: brown, orange, pale. There’s a lack of bright purple and gold as according to the archeologists suppositions, the colour of the floor was prohibited to be of bright colours. The hagiographic is strongly military and of  a martyr in “Vasiliki” reminding Byzantine models as well as transmitting the traditional military presence in the area in ancient years. the clothes are imperial in many shapes. the representation in the naves differ, for example the presentation of the virgin Mary, the future justice, preparation to the throne etc. The decorative patterns are yet one more important chapter in the hagiography of the Church, as there interweave Byzantine elements with ancient greec ones with the supreme painted representation of the oak tree, Zeu’s holy tree. it seems that the hagiographers knew a lot about history as they combine, under Olympus, Christianity with the mythological traditions of the place, as well as about Saints as they paint relatively unknown to the area saints as are: Saint Epiphanios of Cyprus, We are puzzled though by the absence of local saints asissaint Achileos.

The dome of the Church remind strongly those of Athos. There are stilldecorative plates on its outside, while The Omnipoted on the inside in a blue background has an opening in the halo. It is believed that a Turk got angry with Christ’s peaceful face and wanted with his gun to destroy His eye.

The Church was restored in 2002 under the surveillance of the 7th committee, of the Byzantine findings. It is celebrated on the 5th and 6th of August while it is said that it used to be celebrated after Easter. Until the ’40s the place was also used as a school in the added before nave room which today doesn’t exists. Later, during the German occupation it was used as a women’s prison. During  the ’50s and later it was abandoned. in the 1970s the 7th committee of Byzantine finder restored the wrecked monument and supported its foundations.

Although we can’t be absolutely certain about its age, it’s still on the whole one the oldest monuments in the area. It’s among the very few churches which have saved o such a degree the after Byzantine years art, although it handn’t even been 100 gears since the Fall of Constantinople that its restoration coinsides with the presence of the very important Bishop in the area the later name saint the archbishop of Larissa Vissarion. The lack of his being mentioned the ecclesiastical situation then.

Vissarion Karalaskos
English Version: Mary Kaloida