Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Monastery of St. Theodore the Recruit and St. George Triumphant

  The Monastery of St. Theodore the Recruit and St. George Triumphant is the oldest (as regards the katholikon-main church) most important and most characteristic example of monastery architecture in Corfu. It combines an early christian basilica of the 5th century AD, the katholikon with the post-byzantine monastery architecture of 17th century which is typical of Corfu and the Ionian islands in general.

Αn early 19th century german map of Agioi Theodoroi area
  The katholikon was probably built in the 5th century as a three-aisled basilica with a narthex almost entirely out of materials from the nearby ancient greek temple of Artemis Gorgo. Access between the nave and the aisles (only the south aisle survives now) was through colonnades of piers, which are visible today inside the church and on the north facade. The large sermicircular sanctuary apse survives intact, as does the triple opening with relief crosses on the impost blocks of its colonnettes.

  It was probably in the Middle Byzantine period that the north aisle was lost, the colonnade was sealed up and the church was left with one only aisle and the nave. The present monastery complex was built in at least two phases between the 16th and the 18th century and it owned a considerable amount of property. The republican French, who succeeded the Venetians and occupied Corfu in 1797, seized the estate, closed the monastery down and installed a military garrison on the premises. In 1816 Sr. Thomas Maitland, British High Comissioner of the Ionian islands, repaired the monastery and restored it to its use as it is recorded by the relief inscription over the north entrance to the church. 

 During the Second World War the monastery was bombarded by the germans but it was restored by the nannies who lived there.

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