Gortys, The Church of St Titus

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Gortys, the church of St Titus

the church of Saint Titus in GortysThe church of St Titus at Gortys is one of the most imposing monuments of Byzantine architecture. St Titus was a disciple of the Apostle Paul and the first bishop of Crete.

The church was built in the mid-6th to early 7th century AD. We do not know to which saint it was originally dedicated.

Nearby is a larger church of St Titus, the large five-aisled basilica of Gortys. This was the seat of the metropolitan see of Gortys, but it was destroyed by an earthquake in 670 AD and abandoned. The seat may have been transferred to the smaller church, which was then rededicated to St Titus.

Most of the church was destroyed by an earthquake in the 8th century, but the part still preserved today has been dedicated to Panagia Kera (Our Lady) ever since.

The architectural type is a three-aisled basilica with a transept and dome. The church was built of dressed poros stone by master craftsmen and the interior must have been richly painted. Unfortunately the paintings had disappeared by the 16th century.

West of the church was a paved atrium (court). You can still see marble sarcophagi there, which were probably used to inter clerics from the city.

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