Historic Temples

Coordinates: 41.005193, 25.984901

Rocky Church of Agioi Theodoroi

At the steep and inaccessible valley of the river “rema of Eirini” (stream of Irene), on the southeastern slopes of Rodopi, near the railway lines connecting Komotini with Alexandroupolis, under the ruins of an impressive Byzantine fortress, is the impressive rocky church of Agioi Theodoroi.

Although the location with the scattered caves is known to the people of the area, the church was discovered in the first years after World War II accidentally, by a hunter. Local traditions relate the cave of the church with the existence of a secret, underground school which operated during the period of the Turkish occupation, but also the place of martyrdom of the local Agioi Theodoroi.

The church is shaped inside the area of the cave and resembles intensely the cavernous churches of Cappadocia. The entrance takes place through a corridor which leads to a spacious hall, dimensions of approximately 5 x 3,5 meters. The altar area is shaped with a built conch and is divided from the rest of the area with a built screen. The church is wholly decorated with wall paintings that cover the side walls of rock, the screen and the bema and come from two different stages. Its dominant theme is the life of the Virgin Mary, something that indicates that initially the church should be dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The older icons date from the 11th century and survive in fragments. Among them what stands out a large painting of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary and the figure of the Archangel, on the southern side. The more recent one date from the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century, are attributed to a mature artist and are characterized for its exceptional aesthetic quality, which relates them to the art of Constantinople. Representative is the monumental representation of the Virgin Mary enthroned and holding baby Jesus and the one of the Prayer, which literally dominate the limited area.

The church celebrates in May but the surrounding area is a place of celebration for Ash Monday and the 1st of May.



11th century


1 May, Ash Monday

Holy Metropolis: 

Under the Supervision of:
Ephorate of Antiquities of Evros

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