Church of St. Kyriaki

This is a sparse but picturesque little single-nave church with a fully whitewashed exterior, built in modern times. A bell placed within a smart bellcote on the northern side of the church welcomes visitors with its pleasant ring, while a relief decoration of a cherub on the lintel above the entrance adds an element of playfulness. The cult of St Kyriaki has been popular on Chios ever since it was brought to the island by refugees fleeing the Ottomans. The church of St Paraskevi at Kastello, Chios is a prominent local pilgrimage that also has significance for St Kyriaki, as a famous portable icon of her was brought there from Asia Minor by Orthodox refugees. Their adoration for Kyriaki is readily evidenced by the fact that they observe her worship with reverence and often name their children after her. It’s worth mentioning a few biographical details about St Kyriaki, as she’s a less popular saint among the Orthodox faithful. Saint Kyriaki was born and lived in Nicomedia in Asia Minor in the 4th c. A.D. Her parents, wealthy Greek-speakers who had adopted the Christian faith, had long been childless. As the story has it, their fervent prayers were answered and they had a baby daughter, whom they named Kyriaki -Greek for Sunday, the Lord’s Day- to give thanks to God for blessing them with a child. Kyriaki lived in the time of the Roman emperor Diocletian, who ordered a major persecution of Christians during his reign, in 303 A.D. This period saw many thousands of Christians imprisoned and tortured for their faith. In fact, even Christian civil servants and soldiers were stripped of their titles and ranks and murdered, while Christian religious texts were burned, churches razed, and properties confiscated. St Kyriaki was martyred at a young age, and the Orthodox church commemorates her on 7 July.

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