Panayia Faneromeni

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The church of Panayia Faneromeni is a metochion (glebe) of the monastery of Panayia Spiliani. It is located in a deserted location, on the northwest side of Nisyros, in the site Kardia, an area rich in architectural remains from the early Christian and middle Byzantine period. A short path to the east of the road that connects Mandraki with Argos leads to the monument.

The church is the only surviving example of domed middle Byzantine church architecture in Nisyros and is therefore considered one of the most important on the island. It belongs to the “cross-in-square” architectural type, a variant of the “simple four-column” church. This variant is one of the most widespread in Byzantine church architecture, and it is mostly concentrated in the northern Greek and Balkan areas, but there are also few in the Dodecanese. In the Greek islands, the earliest churches of this type appear in the 11th century.

The building (external dimensions: 4.70 x 6.50 m.) has an asymmetrical plan with an acute-angled northwest corner and a curved arch protruding to the east. The exterior surfaces are plain, structured with a combination of unfinished stones with thin tile-like bricks in the joints, while better hewn corner stones are used on the angles. Embedded architectural members in second use are preserved in some points of the wall. The domes are made of stone masonry, while well-fitted stones have been used in the front arches of the domed constructions and the conchin of the apse. The narrow corner sections are covered with semi-cylindrical arches. Externally, the cross-section of the temple is covered with gable roofs and the corner sections with shed roofs. Traces of tiling are not saved.

The dome has a low cylindrical base, which rests on a square base corresponding to the spherical triangles. At the top, there is a small built-in porous collonet that protrudes from outside. Inside, a decorative element, which consists of a single row of plinths, surrounds the rim of the dome, while a second one runs over the arch at the level of the beginning of the quarter sphere. A plinth decorative element with a zigzag line is peculiarly shaped inside, on the eastern part of the cross.

The openings of the building are few, with the only entrance on the west side. We can see a small arched window in the apse of the sanctuary and four in the drum of the dome.

A characteristic of the temple is the technique for supporting the dome, for which members in second use, two early Christian marble dividing mullions, an ancient stele, and a monolithic column with a Corinthian capital, were used.
Few items are saved from the devotional equipment of the temple. Traces of the iconostasis are not visible. The Holy Table is constructed of architectural members integrated into the lowest part of the apsidal arch. A probably 11th-century marble slab, decorated with a cross relief and a six-leaf rosette, stands on a marble colonnade.
A few remains from the frescoes of the previously painted church are preserved. From the area of the sanctuary comes a small fragment of the frescoes with a depiction of the head of Saint Kyriaki, which is today exhibited today at the Archaeological Museum of Nisyros, while to the right of the arch, some full-length fragmentary figures are still preserved in situ. Their rough and plain design, the schematic and bold outlines, and the expressive faces are characteristic of the art of the period.

The stylistic analysis of the frescoes in Faneromeni dates them to the end of the 11th or the beginning of the 12th century. However, a more recent study, which focuses on the architecture of the building, dates the monument to the 12th century.

An architectural study to repair and protect the so far ruined church, due to an earlier serious collapse of a part of it in the 1940s, has been undertaken by the Ministry of Culture in 2002. After the restoration and the rescue work on the frescoes, the next aim is the final restoration of Panayia Faneromeni, the comprehensive conservation of its decorative parts, and the landscaping of the surrounding area.

Site Kardia, Area of Mandraki, Nisyros, postal code 85303

Means of access:
By car, afterwards on foot

Disabled access:

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