Last week was my class trip to Greece in which we took a whirlwind tour of many of the ancient Greek cities and sites. We visited, Olympia, Delphi, Athens and other cities. Since we had to take a ferry to Greece, we drove from Rome down to the port city of Bari, which is located close to the heel of the boot of Italy. The city of Bari, while not exactly a picturesque city, has historical significance. Back in the time of the Crusades, the port of Bari was a major jump-off point to reach the Middle East. When the Crusaders would return to Europe through Italy, they would often stop and leave objects plundered from Islamic mosques at this church in thanksgiving for their successes. The platform around the high altar, in fact was taken from a mosque which had originally been a Christian Church. It has Islamic writing on it regarding the greatness of Allah. The crypt of the church is very unique because not only does it contain the remains of the saint to which the church is dedicated, but it is in the control of the Orthodox Church. The picture that I have from this basilica is of the main altar of the lower church.
When we arrived in Greece, we docked at the Port of Patras, which contains a very important Orthodox church. This church is among the most richly decorated Orthodox churches that I have seen. Every square inch of the building is either marble or covered in mosaics or frescos. Designed in a Greek equidistant cross, the church has a large dome in the middle with Christ the Pantokrator surrounded by angels painted inside. Below, like in many Orthodox churches is a massive chandelier with mosaics of the apostles and carvings of the Greek double-headed eagle. The most striking part of the church is a magnificent image of the Theotokos with Christ in her lap, overlooking the painted city of Patras. This is the picture that I have chosen to include of the church.
The answer to my last post is the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia.