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18.02.2006
Church of Evangelismos of Theotokos

Georgios Tsigaras
Source: C.E.T.I.
© Region of Eastern Macedonia & Thrace
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The Monument: According to relief inscriptions on the north, east and south wall, the church of Evangelismos of Theotokos was erected in 1858, during the time of the Metropolitan Meletios of Xanthi, or – what is more probable – during the time of thr Metropolitan Panaretos of Xanthi. It is a three-aisled basilica with a contemporary narthex, dedicated to three saints (Trishypostatati).
According to an inscription, the oldest portable icon of the church dates from 1801. It is an icon of Theotokos Hodegetria, which was probably painted by a mediocre painter of the wider area.
The iconostasis is decorated with some interesting icons like the icons of Christ, Saint John the Baptist and Theotokos. These icons were made by the religious iconographer Georgios Asteriou from Kozani, in 1856. The household icon of Evangelismos of Theotokos was made in 1869 by a painter named Stergios Zographou or, according to others, Stergios Georgiadis from Nevrokopi and it is very significant for the local art history. This painter, Stergios, was an active member of the Greek community in Nevrokopi; it is mentioned that together with his brother named Georgios, also a painter, being the political leaders of the town, prevented the schismatic Bulgarians from occupying the church of the Dormition of Theotokos and from chasing the Greek supporters of the Patriarchate in Nevrokopi.
Portable icons stand at the sanctuary, some of them probably originating from the church of Pammegistoi Taxiarches. In the icon of 1829 entitled Theotokos as Rodon to Amaranton (The Unfading Rose) an interesting feature is the posture of the angels offering roses to Panaghia who is flanked by the full-body figures of saints, while lower appear the figures of Saint George, the Three Hierarchs and Demetrius placed in separate frames. In another icon, that of Saint George on horseback, the image of the horse is painted in a naturalistic way, while the princess is depicted at the bottom left side. Next is the icon of the Metastasis of Theotokos (1808), followed by the icon of Saint Demetrius on horseback who is depicted on the upper level of the icon while at the bottom level there are four scenes of his martyrdom. At the niche of the diakonikon there is another significant icon of the full-body figure of the Archangel Michael who appears holding a flaming sword in his right hand and an open parchment in his left hand with a miniature human figure. On the north wall of the nave stands the icon of the Metastasis of Theotokos.
Five identical shallow trays are kept in a closet at the sanctuary. These trays are used for the antidoron, the kollyba (boiled wheat) and the deposition of the Holy Cross as well as the collection of money. The representation of Evangelismos of Theotokos can be seen on a pyx that is also kept in the same closet. Some of the icons of iconostasis epistyle as well certain liturgical vessels are kept today in the church of Evangelismos of Theotokos.
The bell-tower was built in 1926-1927, according to an inscription found on its east side, while the clock was placed on May 8, 1934. Finally, the church was restored in 1994.

Βιβλιογραφία: ΑΝΤΩΝΙΟΣ Μητροπολίτης Ξάνθης, Ο Μητροπολίτης Ξάνθης και Νεαπόλεως Ευγένιος (1831-1848), Θρακικά Χρονικά 21 (1966)• Π. Α. ΓΕΩΡΓΑΝΤΖΗΣ, Συμβολή εις την ιστορίαν της Ξάνθης, Ξάνθη 1976• T. K. KΟΝΤΟΓΙΑΝΝΙΔΗΣ, Τα Νεστοχώρια της Ξάνθης. Η ιστορία και ο πολιτισμός τους, Αθήνα 1997• Γ. ΧΡ. ΤΣΙΓΑΡΑΣ, Εκκλησίες της Ιεράς Μητροπόλεως Ξάνθης και Περιθεωρίου, Ξάνθη 2004• Γ. ΧΡ. ΤΣΙΓΑΡΑΣ, Ιεροί Ναοί Παμμεγίστων Ταξιαρχών και Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου Σταυρούπολης, στο: Θρησκευτικά Μνημεία στο Νομό Ξάνθης, επιμέλεια: Γεώργιος Χρ. Τσιγάρας, Ξάνθη 2005.