Agios Dionysios is the largest church in Zakynthos and celebrates on December 17, which is the Feast Day of Agios Dionysios, Patron Saint, and Protector of the island.
This holy and miraculous church was slowly built from 1925 and was finally completed in 1948, only a few years before the devastating earthquake of 1953. It is one of the three buildings that did not have any damage at all by the earthquake, which is considered a miracle and blessing by the locals.
Agios Dionysios was born in Zakynthos in 1547 and was the son of an aristocratic family. From a young age, he was given a Christian upbringing. He was very well educated and spoke Italian as well as Ancient Greek and Latin. At the age of 20, after the death of both his parents, he donated his entire estate to his brother and decided to join a monastery a few miles off the coast of Zakynthos. After living there for a while he was encouraged by his fellow monks to be ordained as a priest, that of which he did and later became the Archbishop of Aegina, he spent the last years of his life at the Monastery of the Virgin Anaforitria in Zakynthos where he passed away at the age of 75 on the 17th December 1622.
It was there at the Monastery Anafonitria that Agios Dionysios lied for the first time, by hiding his brother’s murderer and then helping him escape the island and flee to Kefalonia. This is why Agios Dionysios is considered Saint of Forgiveness, as he forgave his brother’s murderer.
The church of Agios Dionysios is very impressive with a spectacular wooden temple, marble columns, large chandeliers, icons, stained glass windows, red velvet seats, and gold plated detail, it is there where the relics of Agios Dionysios are kept here. The church overlooks the harbour and the bell tower – that of which resembles the bell tower of San Marco Church in Venice and exceeds 40 feet is the landmark of the city.
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