Church of Saint Athanasios Fourka


The great destruction of Halkidiki, as a consequence of its participation in the Revolution of 1821, had an impact on the monumental wealth of Hersonissos. The substantial absence of frescoed temples is also indicative, although we know that there were too many before the Revolution. Nowadays, old churches are preserved only in seven churches of Chalkidiki: Panagouda of Kalandra (1619), Panagia Faneromeni of Nea Skioni, Aghia Triada of Kassandrinos, in the Assumption of the Virgin Mary of Nikiti, in the church church of Agia Triada despite the monastery of Saint Anastasia (detached), Panayia “Mavroutsa” of Fourka and Agios Athanasios of the same village, which is the main subject of this note.

The temple of Agios Athanasios is cut off from Fourka as it is on the left bank of the torrent that comes from the Kassandrinos area and flows into the beach of Fourka, dividing in half the peninsula of Kassandra. It functions as a cemetery temple in the village, although we do not know its original use.

In the masonry of the temple are incorporated marble architectural members of the Early Christian temple (5th-6th century). The same monument seems to come from the marble members that are leaning against the entrance of the narthex. In the crusade of the temple of Amphionion, which is embedded in the south wall of the temple, the inscription is engraved: SUPER WINE VINECENTUS.

Obviously this is the name of one of those who contributed to the erection of the Early Christian temple.

Another similar suffix is ​​leaning in front of the entrance. For its construction was used the idolatrous tombstone, which was built by Likinios, in memory of the daughter of Likinias. During the carving of the suffrage part of the inscription was destroyed right and left, but the basic information was saved and it seems to be a work of the 3rd century AD.

For the location of the Early Christian temple, we have no evidence, although it should be considered very likely that it was in the area of ​​today’s cemetery, and perhaps, on its ruins, the existing temple of St. Athanasius was built.

The church of St. Athanasius seems to have been built around 1600. It should be considered as very likely that it was burned in 1821 and then (apparently in the 1830s) was repaired. Initially, the main church had to be depicted, but the destruction of 1821 and the indifference to its frescoes brought many damage to the painting ensemble. Nowadays, a few fragments of frescoes on the north wall and the entire representation of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary are saved in the west. Characteristic of this representation is the illustration of the Apostles’ movement on clouds to arrive in time and attend the burial of the Virgin Mary.

Based on the stylistic details of the surviving frescoes, we can say that it is a work of the early 17th century and comes from a painter influenced by the tendencies of Cretan painting, as they were then manifested on Mount Athos.

Undoubtedly the frescoes of St. Athanasius are not unique works of art, they are the usual frescoes of the time, from which many examples exist in the Greek space. However, their presence in Halkidiki, along with the other few, we have mentioned, are the only remnants of an interesting phase of Halkidiki history. Moreover, they point out the tragic reason of the absence of monuments in Chalkidiki: the Halkidikians of 1821 did not die alone, they accompanied them to their death and the monuments of their place.

In the church of Agios Athanasios Fourka, a marble tectonic sculpture of the capitol was found in 1914 (CharlesAvezu), decorated with a circle in a circle and christogram and with the inscription “SUPER EYES VINCENTIO” in the abacus. It is built freely in the southern outer wall of the post-Byzantine church. The letter C is written in the form of a standing diamond. The letters S and E are written with angles. Dimensions: height 18 cm width 40 cm, height of abacus 5 cm, height of letters 3 to 3.5 cm. It is the only architectural member that was found in Halkidiki with this decoration. The morphological elements of the column are not enough for a chronological proposal. Other architectural sculptures, unpublished, apparently from the same monument (two amphibians and one epiconian monk, a pessy of a presbyterian barrier, large marble floor slabs, etc.), are also concentrated on the hagiath of the temple.