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Church of Agios Nikolaos | Tsaritsani

Church of Agios Nikolaos | Tsaritsani
The Church of Agios Nikolaos at Tsaritsani, 4 km south-east of Elassona, is one of the most important 17th century monuments, owing to the artistic value and thematic innovation of its frescoes, which cover the main church, narthex, and the two chapels left and right of the chancel. The church, a standard post-Byzantine basilica a gabled roof, is inscribed with frescoes that belong to two eras, that of the 17th and 18th century. The church is famous for its 17th century frescoes, as the depictions combine traditional religious subjects with ancient philosophy and traditions. According to the preserved inscription, the hagiographies found in the church were painted in 1615 by a local crew, headed by the painter priest Ioannis “of the same town” (that of Tsaritsani). From the splendid depictions throughout the various sections of the temple, the Tree of Jesse in the narthex is of particular interest, as alongside the prophets, apostles and ancestors of Jesus (in total 90 persons), twelve philosophers, poets and historians of ancient Greece are also depicted. On one side: Thales, Dion, Plato, Apollonius, Plutarch, Josephus, and on the other: Solon, Xenon, Aristotle, Sibyl, Sofocles, Thucydides. There also are two more depictions of philosophical matter; the “zodiac cycle” and the “seasons of time”. The second depiction, rife with bitter irony about human fate, was completed in 1753 and is attributed to the painters Nikolaos and his son Alexios of Ioannina.
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