Αyia Triadha is the most important Christian church of Nisyros in terms of hagiographies, it lies south of the modern cemetery of the mountainous village Nikia, 14 km southeast of Mandraki, on a location that offers an exceptional sea view.
The church was built on the slope of the mountain, at the southwestern end of the village. It was ruined and completely covered by soil until 1965, when students during a school trip discovered it by chance. Its burial was probably due to seismic waves, which triggered subsidence to the building and landslide to the slope, while the frescoes are still severely cracked.
From an architectural point of view, it is a single-nave, arched-roofed basilica (internal dimensions: 3.90 x 2.90 m.). It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. It was built on the site of an older church, as the remains of an apse to the east indicate. Moreover, traces in the interior of the church show that alterations have been made to the original form of the building: the arched roof was initially armored by a transverse reinforcing arch, which seems to have collapsed before the frescoes were created, but its previous existence is proved by two preserved imposts. In addition, the entrance in the west wall was heightened and therefore part of the interior decoration was destroyed, while the light opening of the space above the entrance was sealed.
The interior of the church is filled with frescoes, which were painted in one phase of the church iconographic phase and are considered the most important and beautiful artistic work in Nisyros. The situation of their preservation is moderate, with many cracks, while some sections have been covered by modern lime coatings and intense discoloration. The conchin of the niche of the altar depicts the Deesis (Prayer) with Christ as High Priest. Six officiating Hierarchs (bishops) with scrolls are covered with newer coatings located lower in the arch, On the front of the apsidal arch, the Image of Edessa is depicted, framed by an illegible inscription. On the roof, in place of the damaged reinforcing bow, a transverse row with prophets divides the arch into two unequal parts. The depiction of the Ascension dominates on the eastern part of the half-cylinder of the altar, while eight representations are included on the western part. In the nave, scenes from the “group of Twelve Great Feasts” (Dodecaorto) are depicted, which start from the upper part of the west wall with the Annunciation, continue on the western part of the semicircle of the arch (Nativity-Pentecost), closing with the “Dormition of the Mother of God” and end with the Ascension, which occupies the whole eastern section of the roof. Lower, on the church walls, dominate the full-length figures of saints – among some ascetics and military saints – hierarchs, deacons, and monks. In a dominant position, in direct relation to the iconostasis, which is not preserved today, and on either side of it, Archangel Michael and St. Nicholas are depicted. On the west wall on both sides of the entrance Saints Constantine and Helen are depicted to the south and the Communion of St. Mary of Egypt to the north. Abraham’s Hospitality, which is depicted on the south wall, is used metaphorically as a representation of the Holy Trinity, to which the church is dedicated.
The radiant, gentle forms of the frescoes, the plasticity of the bodies, the soft garment folds, the successful three-dimensional visualization of space and objects, and the rich color palette with a wide variety of color tones testify that the talented artist has gained a broad knowledge and has managed to use creatively these iconographic and stylistic elements by incorporating the Western European art in his work. The impressive frescoes of the Holy Trinity of Nikia date back to the 15th century.
Nikia, Nisyros, postal code 85303
Means of access:
By car, afterwards on foot
Open year round