Created By: Richard Archer
Panagia Ekatontapiliani (literally the church with 100 doors) is a historic Byzantine church complex. The origin of the church's name is obscure, as it does not have one hundred doors, or gates. One theory suggests that it is a corruption of the name "Katapoliani", i.e. "Lower Town church", as it lies by the sea in the lower part of the town of Parikia.
The church dates to 326. Its oldest features likely predate the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire in 391. The church was purportedly founded by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (ruled 306–337), Saint Helen, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land when she stopped to worship at a chapel on the island. Later Justinian is credited for initiating construction on the site as well. The site was badly damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century, but gradually restored. The Ekatontapyliani is a renowned Marian pilgrimage church of the Aegean, second only to the famed Megalochare church on nearby Tinos Island.
Founded by St. Helene and after her death built into a larger church and monastery by her son, Emperor Constantine. A dome was added in the 6th century by Emperor Justinian. Many of its construction materials sourced from the marble ruins of even older temples. Legend is, the church has 99 visible doors, and a 100th door will appear when the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul becomes Orthodox again. In reality, the church has nowhere near 99 doors.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Paros Walking Tour in Parikia