The Church of the Dormition* of the Theotokos
This beautiful church is one of the few building of the "modern" town of Kalampaka that survived the ravages of the German occupation during WWII. The original church may have been an early Christian basilica built in the 5th c. built upon an ancient Roman temple to Apollo; scholars date the current structure to the 11th century. Marble blocks and columns in the building and floors came from the temple and were incorporated in the church; we see this pattern in many of the Byzantine churches – elements of antiquity woven into and extended with Byzantine designs.
The nave of the churches three stories high and is of the three-aisled (trikliti) Basilica style. The trikliti design was from the early Byzantine era (4th to 6th century) and consisted of a long rectangular room with shorter aisles to the sides with windows allowing natural illumination.
Stunning wall paintings from the 12th through the 17th centuries decorate the interior of the church They are well preserved and the the "later" paintings of the 15th century are credited to the well known iconographer, Theophanes Strelitzas (or Theophanies the Cretan). We will see other works of his in the monasteries of Meteora.
There are 13th and 14th c. frescoes in the narthex, depicting miracles of Christ and a large and beautiful Last Judgment. The ceiling is coffered-wood. Like older Byzantine churches, there is a marble pulpit in the center aisle. These structures, aesthetically blocking views to the altar are not present in later Byzantine churches.
As in other Byzantine churches, a lower crypt was used as a refuge during the Ottoman invasion. We did not have access to the crypt.
As in most churches one is not allowed to photograph the interior icons and frescoes. The images below are from various sources, including from books accessible from the church gift shop.
*Dormition refers to the Orthodox Feast of the "Falling Asleep of the Theotokos/Virgin". Theologically Mary did not die, but fell asleep and was later taken into heaven (assumption). There are other instances of saints whose images we see in dormition poses, surrounded and being blessed by saints.