Panagia Faneromeni Nea Skioni

LocationNea Skioni

The chapel of Panagia Faneromeni in Nea Skioni is located 2 km east of the village in the place of ancient Skionis. It is built right on the bank and hosts marvelous wall paintings of the 16th century AD.

The chapel, as well as the surrounding area, belonged to the Monastery of Flaumouri in Thessaly. When Thessaly was liberated by the Turks, in 1881 AD, it was granted to the Theological School of Halki, to which it belongs until today. It raises at the ninth day of the Virgin Mary, that is on 23 August

The icon of the Virgin is painted on a standing marble statue. The tradition for the chapel says that a villager from the area saw a light in the sea approaching the coast. Thinking it was a pirate ship, he returned to the village to alert his fellow villagers. In the morning, when the light reached the shore, they saw that it was a large piece of marble, with Virgin Mary painted on it, floating in the sea. The villagers were impressed by the miracle and asked the Turkish Bey of the area to allow them to build a chapel to house the picture. But he refused, threw down the picture and began to trample it. The image suddenly became soft as clay and trapped Bey’s feet, not letting him escape. Then beys regretted, and apologizing for permission to build this chapel.

It is a “courtyard” temple of external dimensions 14,5X6,5 m, which ends on the east side in a large semi-circular niche and in the west has a spacious splint. Its roof was made of a tiled wooden roof, which in the early 1980s was replaced (completely inadvertently) by a concrete slab, placed half a meter taller. The new roof was built on columns also of concrete, which surround the temple outside and are in contact with its masonry. This operation, which is very difficult to correct, had the effect not only of altering the shape of the temple, but also of causing considerable damage to the frescoes that had been preserved over the centuries.

The church is stone-built and its masonry was distinguished (before it was coated) by large angelites coming from older buildings. The large and powerful niche, 1,25 m thick, the earlier building phases found under the current floor of the temple with trial sections of Archaeologists, and the masonry that reveals the wave, sparse and that, on the shore next to the temple, state that the present building occupied the position of an unknown ruined Early Christian temple.

The interior of the temple was full of frescoes, of which a significant section survives. Due to the destruction of 1821, the frescoed churches of Chalkidiki are nowhere near. In Panagia Faneromeni the majority of frescoes are preserved, compared to the original set, which is why the importance of the monument is great for the study of ecclesiastical painting in Chalcidice during pre-revolutionary times.

The local tradition says the picture is crying before something bad happens in the country. It is said that the picture was tainted before the Second World War, shortly before the invasion of Cyprus, even recently, when the theme was created under the name of the Watchtower.

The frescoes of Faneromeni appear to be the work of a “popularist” painter of the late 16th century who follows the “traditional” painting of his time, but he also does not deny some artistic loans from the great teachers of the Cretan School and his school continental Greece. The fragmentary preservation of the wall paintings does not allow us to form a certain view of the possibilities and experiences of this unknown painter. The comparative study of the frescoes can not exclude us from showing that the painter of Phaneromeni frescoed other temples of Chalkidiki.

The icon of Panagia Faneromeni, located in the iconostasis of the temple, has been destroyed almost entirely. It was painted with the fresco technique (“fresco”), as well as the frescoes of the temple, in the coating that covered the surface of an ancient statue base erected standing on the ground. Over the centuries and the interventions of the faithful, the plaster and fresco disappeared, revealing the sockets of the legs of the ancient bronze cluster resting on the base when it was in place. The revelation was made early enough to create the cute folk interpretation for the footprints of the Turkish who were trying to sink the marble-image in addition to the sea, pressing on it.

Apart from the marble we mentioned, there is another interesting ancient relic built in the temple – it is a tombstone of the 2nd or 3rd century AD, which was placed in the tomb of a child, Marcus July. According to her, illegible, inscription that is engraved on marble