Church of St George
O Church of St George, formerly Anglican barrack Church of the fortress and now Orthodox Church, certain to have been unnerving to at least some Greek clerics who have served here: where have you been all my life?
Mass is only celebrated here twice a year: on St George’s Day, and for the Epitaphios procession on Good Friday. Which answers my question about whether parishioners have to pay a ticket to get in. There aren’t any.
Apparently, the placard also says, the prominent Voulgaris family founded the church of Saint Spyridon, and thus felt entitled to donate its iconostasis, complete with 17th century icons, to the new church. I’m surprised church has worked that way, but the Ionian islands were not as far removed from feudalism by then as they should have been.
I have to say, the placard completely confused me, and it took me several iterations to work out what had happened; the placard is not quite right.
When St Spyridon’s remains were brought to Corfu, they were initially housed in the private family chapel of the Voulgaris. The chapel was demolished in 1577, to make room for the new town fortifications. The Voulgaris arranged transfer of the relics to the newly built church of St Spyridon; but they held on to the original, Byzantine-style iconostasis. And they donated it to the new church when it was made Orthodox—which was a big deal for the island, as it marked the transfer of power over the island from Britain to Greece.
The Church of St George was bombed during World War II, and repaired, like many other churches around here. As the inscription says, “Holy temple of St George, and this house of God was repaired through the piety of His children, June 1951.”
Within, the church is… well, oblong. Because it’s walled off, you don’t realise you’re inside a Greek temple. And the same applied to the actual Greek temples. (You didn’t think they were actually built to be exposed to the elements, did you?)