In spite of its small size, Kimolos is filled with churches. Not one or two, but eighty churches and chapels were erected with toil and faith by the religious people of the island. Others magnificent and imposing and other humble and charming, others at Chorio and others next to the waves or on the windy tops.
Most of them are “family” ones, with the care of them passing from generation to generation to the descendants of those who built them. Many of them are unique regarding their architectural importance, their screens and their icons.
A significant number of icons are the work of the priest Emanuel Skordilis, a Cretan hagiographer who founded a school (16th-18th century) and of Defterevon Sifnou Agapios Prokos (18th-19th century).
The top ranking church is the magnificent and imposing Metropolitan Church of Panagia Odigitria.
It was erected between 1867 and 1874 through the personal work of all the people of the island who, without pay, worked zealously for 7 years.
Among the numerous old and beautiful icons, the most beautiful is the icon of Panagia Odigitria which dates from the Palaeologan era (15th century) and possibly came from Constantinople or Thessaloniki.
The artistic wealth of Panagia is impressive and in order for a visitor to really appreciate it, he must devote ample time.
Eight churches are considered monuments of special archaeological and historical importance and are protected by the Ministry of Culture.
- Birth of Christ (1592), the oldest one, in the Inner Castle.
- Chrisostomos (17th century), the former Metropolis, on the north of the Castle.
- Panagia of Oikonomos (17th century), west of the Castle.
- Taxiarches (17th century), southwest of the Castle.
- Chrisopigi (17th century), near the previous two churches.
- Sotira (Savior) (17th century), on the western side of the Castle.
- Agioi Anargiroi (17th century), opposite the Lower Gate of the Castle.
- Pantokratoras: at Xaplovouni, with amazing view from its courtyard.
Of course the rest of the churches, modern and older ones, in or close to Chorio or at the countryside, have each own history, are beautiful and possess remarkable artistic importance.
Let’s mention some more of them, particularly those you will meet while approaching the eight mentioned above or when walking around and outside the Castle:
- Agios Spiridon (1956) and Agios Ioannis Theologos (1953) at “Kampos” square and Evangelistria (1608) on the northern side of the square.
- Osia Methodia (1962) in the Inner Castle, Agios Nikolaos (17th century) and Agios Georgios (18th century) near the Upper Gate of the Castle.
- Agia Matrona (17th century) and Agia Anna (18th century) below the School square.
- Agia Paraskevi (1880), at Xaplovouni near Pantokratoras.
Text: George A. Ventouris, Despoina Athanasiadou-Ventouri