It is the most famous sight of Paros, and also one of the most important early-Christian sights in Greece. The trail of Panagia Ekatontapyliani (or Katapoliani) is built in two phases (the Constantinian and Justinian).
According to the legend, the church was the offering of Agia Eleni for finding the Holy Cross and it was built by Constantine the Great, while it underwent a lot of changes during the era of Justinian.
With regard to its name, according to one version, it came from the location of the church which is built towards the ancient town (“kata tin poli”). Another version of the 15th century says that the monastery has 100 doors: 99 visible and one that is secret which shall be revealed when Constantinople becomes Greek again.
The main church is a three-aisled cruciform basilica dedicated to Virgin Mary. It is built upon an ancient gymnasium evident from the mosaic discovered and from the ancient columns on the church floor. The pulpit and parts of the marble iconostasis are preserved from the Early-Christian period. Inside the chancel there is the Altar covered with ciborium on columns and a built episcopal throne, which served the needs of the Divine Liturgy in the early Christian years.
Furthermore, the Baptistery of the 4th century, the amazing icons and the marble décor with Christian representations and ancient Greek sculptures stand out.
At the site of the monastery there are the chapels of Agios Nikolaos –which is considered to have been built under the decree of religious tolerance in 313 and before 326 by Agios Dimitrios and Agia Theodosia.
There is also the Byzantine Museum, with icons, woodcarvings and various ecclesiastical relics. Near the church of Ekatontapyliani there is Frangomonastiro, the katholikon of the monastery of the famous Capuchin monks, which stands next to the Catholic church of Agios Antonios since 1700.
The church celebrates on the Dormition of the Virgin Mary on August 15. On the eve the Vespers is performed, at the conclusion of which, during the procession of the Lity, the procession of the Virgin Mary’s epitaph is performed in the precinct. On the celebration day, Archiepiscopal common officiating is performed and procession of Panagia Ekatontapyliani’s icon.
It is open daily and tours are conducted in specific hours throughout the day.
Tel. of Secretariat: +30 22840 21243