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November 16, 2021

A Village in Kerkyra Dedicated to the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew

One of the largest and most beautiful villages of Kerkyra is called Agios Mattheos, known locally as "Ai Mathias", where there is a parish church with an imposing bell tower dedicated to the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew, which was the place of worship of the first inhabitants of the village.

According to the local oral tradition, the village was originally called Agios Nikolaos (Ai Nikolas), dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, thanks to a small church of the same name. Later, however, it was renamed Agios Mattheos (Ai Mathias) and a large church was built in his honor, since according to local tradition, an elder suddenly appeared before some wine merchants who went to the village, but lost their bearings due to a severe storm. This old man pointed out the right way for them to go to the village. When they got there, they sought the church to thank God who saved them, but also that they arrived safely at the right destination. But when they entered the temple, they saw in an icon of the figure of the elder who had suddenly appeared before them and had helped them to arrive at their destination. This figure was none other than the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew. This supernatural event was considered by the inhabitants as a miracle and so the village was renamed Agios Matthaios.