A visit to Nafplio cannot but include long walks in the famous alleys of the old town. There, you will see images that will take you back in time. In one of them, on Kapodistriou str., you will encounter the church of Agios Spyridon, in front of the small square, which takes its name from the church.
The church was built during the first Venetian occupation in Nafplio, but after the bombing of the city by the Venetians in 1686 and during the first Turkish occupation, the church suffered great damage along with forty other temples. Thus, in 1702 the church was rebuilt from scratch, at the expense of the brotherhood of the Orthodox Greeks of Nafplio. This is evidenced by an inscription outside the temple that says "Founded from the ground up". This post-Byzantine church has the shape of a inscribed cross with an octagonal large dome and a semicircular niche. Upon entering, you will be impressed by the images, the simplicity and the age of the church. Light up a candle and rest on the old pews for a while. Oh, and the icon of St. Barbara on your left is celebrated with all honors on December 4th each year.
A name, a story
One of the darkest pages of modern Greek history unfolded outside the entrance of Agios Spyridon. There, on September 27th 1831, the first Governor of the liberated Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias, was shot dead by the Mavromichali brothers, on his arrival at the church of Agios Spyridon to attend the Mass, as he used to do every Sunday; in the church, which was dedicated to the patron saint of his birthplace, the island of Corfu.
At the entrance of the temple, however, his assassins had set him up and after greeting him, they attacked him: Konstantinos Mavromichalis with a pistol and Georgios Mavromichalis with a knife. The death of the Governor was instantaneous. Konstantinos Mavromichalis was persecuted and killed by the enraged crowd, while George Mavromichalis was executed a few days later.
The emotion for the assassination of the Governor was great. His funeral was held with magnificence in the church of Agios Georgios. The Governor's bowels were placed in a luxurious case under the temple's Holy Sanctuary.
Be sure to notice the glass display case on the wall at the entrance of the church, which indicates where the fatal bullet was wedged.
Did you know that?
If you find yourself in Nafplio on a December 3rd, it is worth following the procession of the icon of Saint Barbara, which is done with great honors by the Army, the Metropolis and the local Authorities.
1, Kapodistriou str., GR 211-00, Nafplio (Old Town)
The church remains open from 10:00 am to 19:00 pm
T. +30 2752 0 28028