Agios Ioannis Theologos

Άγιος Ιωάννης Θεολόγος Έλος

The church of Saint John the Theologian is a a single nave building, covered with a barrel vault and measuring 11,20 m length by 4,46 m width. There are not any specific elements for its exact dating but according the stylistic analysis of its wall paintings, can be dated to the first half of 14th century.

The current form of the church was formed in the early 20th century after the demolition of the western wall and the addition of an expansion. At the same period a new window was created in the middle of the western wall and the built iconostasis was replaced by a wooden one.

At the recent restoration works which took place by the 28th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, interesting frescoes were revealed.

The fresco decoration dated at the first half of 14th century and includes scenes of the Christological, Liturgic and Hagiological cycle. At the semi-vault of the apsis is depicted Jesus Christ in the middle with Virgin Mary (left) and St. John the Baptist (right) in the form of Deesis and below them St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. On the apsis THe Hospitality of Abraham (symbolic representation of the Holy Trinity), The Annunciation of Virgin Mary and Saints Deacons Stephanus, Romanus and Euplos can be observed. The barrel vault is decorated by scenes of Christ’s Life such as the Ascension of Christ, The Navity, The Visitation, The Baptism (Epiphany), The Transfiguration, The Raising of Lazarus, The Entry into Jerusalem, The Betrayal of Judas, Jesus carrying the Cross, The Lamentation and the Resurrection (Anastasis). On the south wall Saints Bishops Gregorius, Athanasius, Cyril of Alexandria, Saint Michael and Saints Constantine and Helen and the local Saint john the Hermit can be seen, while on the north one Saint Nicholas and Saint Eleutherios are been depicted. In bad condition of preservation can be traced Saint Mamas, Demetrius, George and Irene.

The aesthetic and iconography perceptions of the frescoes emphasize the importance of the monument as one of the very representative and significant sample of Byzantine art as it was formed in western part of Crete during the 14th century. Additionally, the decorative program which was uncovered after the preservation works can be attributed to the famous west Cretan painter of that era, Ioannes Pagomenos, adding thus the church to the long list of the monuments painted by that important artist.