Panagia Plastariatissa Kalandra


The church of Panagia Plaastiriotisa is located in the plain of Kalandra, between the above village and the village of Fourka, at a distance of 1,5 km from Kalandra. Around it, there are the pilgrimage of St. Christopher, St. Nicholas (St. John the Baptist), St. Michael Sinais and the Church of the Holy Trinity. Southwest the area is called “Xilandar (y)”. Northwest is the “Kostos” (from Saint Christopher obviously). In the east it is called Karakatsoudia.

The church for the scholar is a small puzzle. Few elements exist for it, little bibliography. On the other hand there are no accesses to manuscripts of Mount Athos which would be useful, since almost all of Halkidiki was an Athonite Metohi.

One of the statuary inscriptions left one in the church that gives a name and a chronology. The historical elements that are distinguished in the narrations of the inhabitants of Kalandra are tangled with those of myth and the chronological classification of the events remains a wish.

Panagia Plastariotissa is a small basilica in the woods, a single-aisled roof with a roof on the side of a hill and the church stretches on two levels from the West to the East, while with wooden supports it tries to be divided into three aisles.

There are 2 entrances: one located in the West and the other on the South. There is no opening other than the window in the hollow of the sanctuary.

Outside, the only church-like reminiscent of a lofty cross on the roof. The clay-brick building (now plastered) is poor. Entering from the southern entrance to our right hand there is an inscription. Apart from that, there is another inscription beside the western door in 8 lines that are now only distinguished by the letters … ROMI … (subscription?) In the fifth series and in the eighth most probably part of the chronology.

Apart from the engraved names, there are also dates on the walls of the church, “It was 1619” or “278 years the church in 1897”.

It is obvious, therefore, that the church was built and painted in the first quarter of the 17th century, and even the history, the historiography, the iconographic program was made at the expense of John Savatanos and his family. In the village of Kalandra they remember the old Calandri family of Savatian, not even in the nearby villages. The memories reach 4-5 generations back. John Savatanos, a wealthy – Halkidiki, probably – of the early 17th century, and his family may have faded into the great “breakdown” of 1821, when the whole families were devastated. However, 2 centuries ago Cassandra was a rich and hence rich in its area.

The monastic community of Mount Athos occupied much of Cassandra before the fall, which grew even further after the fall, while the area enjoyed the privileges of Mount Athos.

It seems that until 1624 Kassandra was an archbishopric for at least 20 years because Kyrillos Lukaris of the Patriarch of Constantinople in 1624 issued a synodal letter that made Kassandra from an archdiocese, a diocese of Thessaloniki.

If we combine the fact that the integration of Kassandra under Thessaloniki, as a diocese, then transforming it into an archdiocese and vice versa is a story that is repeated for economic gains, we conclude that Cassandra was a rich region or at least rich enough to be built and to illustrate churches like the one of Panagia Plastara. Four other frescoed temples are preserved in Cassandra. But also the inhabitants of Kassandra had, apart from a higher standard of living and cultural, that their frequent contact with monks of Mount Athos and their origins from Constantinopolites persecuted after the fall by Epirus and Agrafaites, as well as the close their contact with the Aegean islands.

Influences from the Epirus and the Agraphian origins existed. Three farms, Agios Dionysios in Valta (Kassandria) of Agios Georgios in Kalandra and Panagia Faneromeni in Nea Skioni belonged to the Holy Monastery of Flaumouri in Thessaly until 1881.

These influences were also reinforced by the inscriptions of the Epirus masons “of the Arvanites”, as the local Calandrians had said, coming with their mules, their tools, their families, a habit that remained until the occupation. These, as the Calandrians remember, were builders. But “from old” they were told by the builders and they built houses and churches because they were real artisans. ManyevensettledinCassandra.

Of course, the church we are looking at does not have any particular architectural virtues, and its simplicity would ruin it as it was built in a region so rich for the region if we did not know how the Turks banned the construction of tall church trunks even in privileged areas.