Corfu Island Greece

The Temple of Saint Spyridon

The temple of Saint Spyridon, one of the most important post- byzantine monuments of the Corfu town is an attraction point for the visitors of the town and of the island. It can easily be reached, as strolling around the Old Town and the street of Nikiforos Theotokis, having left Liston behind, you can see at the right the square of the same name with the church which predominates at the end.

Temple of Saint Spyridon

It appears to be an old building judging by its exterior facade. Wooden roof in Ionian royal style , possessed by the Voulgari family for a while, who also possessed the relic of its Saint, is more similar to the churches of the West than with those of the East, as it is very differentiated from the strict byzantine models which are met in the mainland.

This fact can easily be explained by the Venetian occupancy over Corfu which lasted for ages while the Ottoman forces had never passed from there and this is the main characteristic of the Ionian islands which were deeply influenced by the Italian renaissance and consequently by the 17th century art.

Therefore, its shape is oblong and low-ceilinged as in all the churches of the Ionian islands with its impressive steeple in a tower shape, very similar to the steeple of the church of the Saint of Greeks in Venice (San Giorgio dei Greci) as they were built almost at the same period.

When you walk through the entrance, your eyes will be fixed at the “celestial” the roof of the church which consists of seventeen gold painted panels that illustrate scenes from both the life of Saint Spyridon and the Gospels. The frames of the panels are original while the frescoes are copies of the originals which were created by Panayiotis Doxaras in 1727.

The frescoes which were destroyed by the excessive humidity were replaced by Aspiotis during the 18th century. The marble screen of the church which almost touches the celestial, a piece of art of the beginning of the 20th century, is one more feature of the Ionian architecture.

It should be noted that the old stone screen of the church was moved to the church of Saint George of the Old Fortress which church carries its own history. The relic of Saint Spyridon is stored in a luxurious silver urn, a piece of art of the 19th century which is located at the right of the sanctuary.

It must be noted that the original church was built in another location of the town of Corfu but it was necessary to be demolished in order for the walls of the fortress to be extended. The present church was built in 1589.

Read about Saint Spyridon's life