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Agios Georgios

One of the first major projects of PCHP is to help in the restoration of the early 15th century chapel of Agios Georgios (St. George) in the small village of Mesiskle located in the southern foothills of Mt. Psilioritis (Ida).  A local shepherd, Antonis Zacharioudakis, who as a young boy helped in the resistance against the Nazis during World War II and later fought as a volunteer in the Korean War, approached the Museum of Cretan Ethnology to seek help in fulfilling a vow he made in Korea to restore the chapel if he were to make it out alive. Over the past 55 years, Antonis has lovingly restored the chapel and its environs save for one final task.

 

 

Antonis with co-directors Andrew Koh and Christoforos Vallianos

The chapel of Agios Georgios is located 2km south of the famous church of Agios Phanourios at Valsamoneriou Monastery in Vorizia. It is said that El Greco’s family owned a country estate just to the south enabling the young painter to hone his craft in the Cretan Style at the monastery before leaving for Venice around 1567. Agios Georgios dates to around the same period as the southern nave of the larger church (built between 1400 and 1438 and dedicated to Agios Ioannis) and is built in a similar architectural style, leading one to suspect that the former also contains wall paintings of some quality. Early investigations in 2006 proved that there are paintings under the whitewash of some walls, most notably the center of the north wall. We are now fundraising to have the interior walls fully restored, the last task in fulfilling the long-standing vow of a Cretan shepherd who bled in Korea all those years ago.

 

Valsamoneriou Monastery  

 

 

This site will serve as the blog for the Pyrgiotissa Cultural Heritage Project, co-directed by Andrew J. Koh (Brandeis University), Christoforos Vallianos (Director, Museum of Cretan Ethnology Research Centre), and Despoina Hatzi-Vallianou (Honorary Curator of Antiquities and President, Cultural Association of Mesara).

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