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Friday, February 23, 2018

The 12th Century Church of Saint Polycarp in Tanagra of Boeotia

This church dates back to the 12th century, and originally it bore the name of some saint that is unknown to us. For unknown reasons the church suffered destruction, either naturally or from invaders. During the Ottoman occupation the Turkish pasha had a caretaker who was a Christian named Polycarp. Before Polycarp died, he ordered his son to rebuild the fallen church. Obeying his command, Polycarp's son rebuilt the church and dedicated it to Saint Polycarp of Smyrna, in honor of his father's patron. It's annual celebration took place on February 23rd.

Over time, unfortunately, the church fell into disrepair again, taking the form of what it was until recent restorations. It has been designated as a preserved monument according to the decision of the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs. Pious Christians today of the surrounding areas still celebrate here the memory of Saint Polycarp on February 23rd, as well as the memory of Saint Jerome on June 15th. The Arvanites who inhabited the area called the church in Arvanite Klisi Polykripi, ie Church of Polycarp, which in its present Byzantine form dominates the surrounding area of ​​Ancient Tanagra.

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