Do you know that Santorini is home to hundreds of churches of different dimensions and shapes? Although Santorini is a tiny island, it’s filled with chapels, churches, and monasteries which can be found throughout the villages of the island. Every church is unique and has its own story and feast to honor its patron saint by holding large celebrations. In the lives of the locals, religion is extremely significant. Let’s look at some of the most impressive churches in Santorini!
Catholic Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Fira
It was the first Catholic cathedral in Santorini, situated near the northern part of Fira. It was built in 1823 but was severely damaged during the 1956 earthquake; it was rebuilt after 20 years and was reopened in the year 1975. The cathedral consists of a central nave, two side aisles, and three entrances. It is awe-inspiring from a distance due to its peach exterior color as well as its length. There is also an elegant clock tower that proudly stands over the place.
Profitis Ilias Monastery
The monastic site located in Profitis Ilias (Prophet Elijah) is an 18th-century church that was built at the top of the island. It is located just a few kilometers from Pyrgos Village, it used to be a Greek school and was once a hub exerting cultural, intellectual, and economic influence. After the earthquake in 1956 and subsequent reconstruction, the structure was rebuilt in a fortress-like fashion. The relic-filled chapel is accessible to all visitors. Visitors might also find items grown and made by monks of the monastery available to purchase.
Agios Nikolaos Monastery
It is located in between the village Imerovigli and Firostefani. The monastic site of Agios Nikolas (St. Nicolas) is dedicated to (1) Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicolas), (2) Zoodoxos Pigi (Life-giving Spring in Greek) and to (3) Agios Panteleimon (St. Pantaleon). The monastery is the second oldest on the island and used to be the private chapel belonging to the Gizi family. They made the decision to convert it into a monastic institution. The present position of the monastery isn’t exactly where it was when it first began. The monastery moved its site in 1815 after the decision of the archbishop. It is now home to an ecclesiastical and folklore museum, one featuring the rarest Byzantine icons, like the one from Agios Nikolaos.
Zoodochos Pigi church, Kamari
If you walk the designated route under that Mesa Vouno mountain of Kamari that takes you into the Cave of Zoodohos Pigi below Ancient Thira, you’ll see the tiny temple of the life-giving Springs (Zodochos Pigi) hidden in the rock. The climb up is steep and uneven, but it’s an ideal exercise. In front of the church is a 26-meter-long cave. It has an unnatural spring that was the main source of drinking water for Ancient Thera and the whole island. The chapel is small and outside there is a stunning view of Kamari beach and the stunning blue Aegean is waiting to welcome you.