Panagia (Virgin Mary) Drosiani

After the village of Moni, driving to the village of Tragaia on your left, there is one of the most important monuments of the Byzantine History. During the period of the Byzantine Empire the island of Naxos still used to play an important role on the Aegean Sea, which is proved by the existence of about 130 Byzantine churches dotted all over its territory.
 
It is considered to be one of the most ancient Christian churches of Greece and one of the major monuments of Byzantine church painting thanks to its rare murals.
 
There are many versions concerning the origin of the name “Drosiani” but it is more probable to be derived from the word “drosia” which means “cool breeze” in greek due to the cool environment around. However, there is also a legend saying that any time that the village was in danger the icon “was sweating” and bringing a “breeze of relief” to the locals with its miracles.
 
It has three recesses and it is built of stone with a slate roof. Its general construction probably gives the impression of an old mausoleum. The church dates back to the late 6th or to the early 7th century.
 
The frescoes of the first coat date back before the period of iconoclasm while those of the second coat (12th-13th centuries), still in a very good condition,  are now exhibited at the Byzantine Museum of Athens. The first coat of iconography of 6th century depicts the Prayer and the Saints, the Ascension of Christ and the Archangels. What really stands out is the icon of Virgin Mary Nikopios which represents the fine, meticulous figure of the Virgin Mary along with Jesus Christ.

The marble icon screen as well as the iconostasis belong to the 6th century and they are decorated with crosses between scrolls and leaves.
 
The depiction of the Christ on the church’s dome is really extraordinary. The Christ is represented with two faces, with a beard in a mature age on the one hand and with a little beard thing in a much younger age on the other. This two-faced representation of the Christ is attributed to his double nature: human and divine. Among the mural paintings there are also dedicatory inscriptions and the four symbols of the Evangelists.
 
Everyone who is in Naxos on Good Friday (Holy Friday) has the chance, after the Christ’s Deposition from the Cross, to modestly celebrate with the  residents of the village of Moni who offer to the visitors glasses of raki, diples ( fried pastry dough with honey), consecrated bread, dried fruit and other local goodies in the church courtyard.
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