Church of Saint John the Baptist

“This church, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, is one of the oldest on the island. It was a privately owned church, as were many others on the island, and was a votive offering of one of the old wealthy families of Hydra. Originally the property of the Karayanni family, it was donated to the state; the Greek Archaeological Society is now responsible for the preservation of this post Byzantine monument. An inscription on a white marble plaque, informs us that the church was restored in January 1738 by Papa Dionysios Duri, a monk. It’s original construction can therefore be placed at an earlier date. A small courtyard surrounds the north-western sides and its walls are white washed. Only the upper part of the church and the dome are painted red, a colour frequently used for the outside walls of the churches in the island. A small bell tower rising on the western wall, where two bells hand, is extremely picturesque. The church is a small basilica with a dome, and its walls grow thicker with the two rows of Gothic arches situated on the southern and northern sides. The light inside is very limited, coming from the eight small windows of the drum of the dome, and the very narrow ones of the side walls and the sanctuary. The iconostasis is beautifully woodcarved, and belongs to the years of the restoration.

The whole interior is covered with paintings, which were completed in 1738 and have all the artistic elements of Cretan iconography, which developed after the fall of Byzantium. …They depict Old and New Testament scenes and scenes from the life of Saint John the Baptist. The painters … were possibly monks from the large monasteries which were flourishing at that period.”

This church, located in Kiaffa, celebrates its name day on August 29.

Sources: http://hydraspoliteia.blogspot.com/2010/09/blog-post_6652.html; Aristodimos N. Sofianos, Hydra, rev. ed. (Athens: C. Christou, 1978).).

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