Tuesday, 30 November 2010

The catholic monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi

  On Nikiforou Theotoki street, near the orthodox church of Agios Antonis, stands the catholic monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi. It is an important monument not directly seen from street level, as there is an entrance with some stairs behind it leading to the monastery's property.

The chapel of St. Anne, refurbished by the british in 1850

  It is one of the oldest churches survived. Actually nobody can tell when it was consrtructed but all we know is that the property, probably then dedicated to Saint Aggelos, was given to a female monastery in the period of the Epirus despotate in the 12th century. The church itself is a living monument of the schism and the rivalry of the Orthodox and the Catholic church. In 1272 when the d'Anjoux took over Corfu they eliminated the orthodox Archibishop and took the orthodox best churches in order to convert then into catholic ones. Later on, in 1367, this church was given to the latin monks of Saint Francis of Assisi and it was the place when in 1386, the corfiots gave the town keys to the venetian admiral Giovanni Miani surrendering to the Serene Republic of Venice. In 1798 the first primary school was founded (it still stands today as the "5th primary school"). In 1943, following the german's bombings, the monastery temporary housed the catholic archiodecese until the reconstruction of the catholic Duomo.

The main entrance of the church
The 5th primary school

  The church follows the eptanisian basilica style with a wooden tiled roof. It's campanile is venetian influenced. There were some additional buildings (like the cloisters) which unfortunately are long gone now.

View of Saint Francis property from the opposite arcaded buildings

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