St George at Vassilika

Visitors to Vassilika in the area of Volissos have the opportunity to visit the picturesque church of St George. Tradition associates this place with the legend of the “Anilios Vassilias” (the shaded king). The church dates to the post-Byzantine period and has been designated a historical listed monument. The inscription carved into the stone of the lintel above the entrance indicates that the church was renovated in 1897. It is a single-nave church with a saddleback roof and a colonnaded, barrel-vaulted porch on its western side. An architectural particularity of its construction is the hexagonal dome that covers the bema.
Overall, however, the church has a barrel-vaulted roof. Visitors to the church are sure to find the striking 19th-century wood-carved iconostasis with its despotic portable icons fascinating: they depict the Theotokos Brephokratousa (Virgin Mary holding Christ) in the iconographic type of the Madonna of the Angels, Christ Pantokrator as the Great Archpriest and St George mounted. As is customary in Orthodox Christian churches, the upper register of the iconostasis is decorated with a host of smaller icons that narrate episodes from the life of Christ. All these portable works are dated to the 19th century. No frescoes survive on the church walls. A stone altar is preserved in the Bema.

More artistically inclined visitors should take a closer look at the interior surfaces, walls and ceiling of the main church, where they can find plaster decorations painted with floral and geometric motifs. The relief decorations, suggestive of a sky filled with stars, are especially striking. The feeling upon entering the church and taking in the relief decoration together with the post-Byzantine portable icons in the iconostasis is one of imposing solemnity.
What’s more, one can also find items of historical and artistic interest in the floors. The materials and how they’ve been placed in the floor show the skill and eye for beauty of the local artisans. In fact, the stonemasons of Chios were renowned in times past, but their art has unfortunately all but vanished in the modern day. The floor is inlaid with locally sourced red and brown flagstones. The red stone is from the village of Thimiana, while the brown stone is from Nenita, inlaid in an alternating pattern. The central decorative element, a star-shaped ornament inlaid within a square frame, is worth seeing. Surrounding this frame are square ceramic tiles decorated with brightly coloured floral ornaments.
The church once served the late-Byzantine settlement of Vassilika.

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