Panagia Galatiani (Virgin Mary Galatiani) Verified

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A three-nave-church, dedicated to the Presentation of Virgin Mary (Panagia). It is called Galatiani (from the Greek word gála, meaning milk), as according to tradition, the shepherds of the area gave the milk from their cattle to get it mixed with the mud that was to be used for the construction of the church. There is also another version of the story, according to which the church was named after an icon depicting Virgin Mary breastfeeding little Jesus.

It was built in different eras, something that is evident not only in the exterior, but also in the interior of the church. The central nave was built around 1400. The north nave is dedicated to Agioi Deka (Ten Saints) and dates back to 1840, while the south nave was built in 1898 and is dedicated to Agios Charalambos (Saint Charalambos). During the same year, as it can be seen on the inscribed date, the bell tower was constructed. The Altar, in all three naves, is based on columns that had been removed from the Early Christian Basilica that was in Livadi. The iconostasis or templon (the equivalent of the western rood screen) that separates the sanctuary from the nave is not uniform. In the central nave it is woodcut, while in the side naves it is wooden and clean-cut. On the upper part, it is adorned with the icons of Vrefokratoussa (Infant-Holder), Pantocrator (Almighty) (1848), Agioi Deka (Ten Saints), St. Nikolas, St. Ekaterina, Vrefokratoussa, St. Basil (1895), St. Tryfon, Vrefokratoussa, Pantocrator and St. Charalambos. On the lower part, it is adorned with the icons of Jesus’ Prayer on the Mount of Olives, Daniel in the den of lions, Prophet Elijah, St. Paraskevi, St. Efthimia, St. Andrew, the Sacrifice of Abraham, Jonah out of the whale, Jeremiah’s Lamentation and Moses and the Burning Bush.

In each nave there are two supporting arcs in the arch. On the arch of the central nave, a mural with scenes, such as “Epitaphios Lament” (or Holy Friday Lamentation), “Last Supper”, “Candlemas” (Presentation of the Lord), “The Birth of the Virgin”, “Birth of Jesus”, “Crucifixion”, “Baptism”, as well as scenes from the Mariological Cycle, is painted.

The church operates also as a museum, as icons from all the churches of Malia can be found there.

Architecture: three-nave barrel vaulted
Dating : about 1400 (central nave), 1840 (north nave), 1898 (south nave)
Location: Old Town of Malia
Celebration: November 21st, February 10th, December 23rd
Hagiography: YES
Access : Easy
Visit options: Open (8.30-13.00 and 17.00-21.00)