June 5, 2019

The Ancient Christian Basilica of Christ of Jerusalem in Kalymnos

Christ of Jerusalem Basilica is a three-aisled ancient Christian church located in Limniotissa, 200 meters west of Chora on the island of Kalymnos, next to the asphalt road that leads from Chora to Panormo.

According to epigraphical testimonies, the site was the political and religious center of ancient Kalymnos. The prevalence of Christianity following the persecution of the Roman emperors brought about the closure and destruction of the pagan sanctuaries. The basilica was built in the 5th century and was probably destroyed in the middle of the 6th century from an earthquake and was later repaired, while another basilica, Hagia Sophia, was built forty meters southeast. In the 7th century it was abandoned due to Arab raids.

Only the eastern part of the basilica has been excavated since 1937. The sanctuary has been maintained in fairly good condition. It has been determined that the building material for the basilica came from a nearby temple dedicated to Delian Apollo. The central aisle is paved with large marble slabs, while the south is covered with a mosaic composition that includes animals in a natural environment.

The church is still in operation today for its feast day on the Apodosis of Pascha, which is 39 days after Easter, as well as the feast of the Transfiguration of Christ on August 6th.