The parish existed since the early centuries of Christianity possibly with a different name, but it took today’s form and name in 1865, when its exquisite church in the names of Transfiguration of Jesus and Saint Spiridon was built anew. On the initiative of the then Βishop Parthenios Bitsakis and with the help of the then local president Mr. Daratsinos and other notables and Christians of the region, and after the permission of the Turkish authorities, today’s church of the parish was built.
Licher, the German sightseer, notes that ‘passing from Crete in May of 1865 I came across the construction site of the superb Christian Orthodox Church in Kissamos, Chania, and the eagerness of the people for its construction’. The Church was finished and inaugurated in three years. It is constructed from stone, lime and a special type of terra rossa which are resilient to the passage of time and keep the building undamaged and eternal.
In 1911 the women’s section of the church was built along with the nice stone bell tower where its five bells hang. The middle and largest one of them, the sound of which resonates throughout the town and the surrounding villages, weighs a ton, it is gifted by G. Choudalakis and it was made in Russia. The church is built in three-aisle basilica rhythm and its roof is supported by four marble pillars taken from the ancient Roman theatre of Kissamos. It is situated at the northern side of the town and it is built on the ruins of a smaller church that was probably torn down by the ferocity of the Turks in the first few years of the country’s and our island’s enslavement.
The interior of the Church is impeccably decorated with old and some newer wood sculptures and icons, and in 1996 the walls were painted with byzantine religious frescos of Cretan art by the religious art painter from Kissamos, Nikos Gianakakis.
Apart from the remains of many Saints of the Orthodox Church, our parish keeps as a holy relic venerable holy water, and as a great treasure the Holy and miraculous Icon of Saint Spiridon. During the Cretan revolution in 1889 and though the Church was desecrated and pillaged, all icons and holy objects abused, burnt and destroyed by the vehemence of the Turks, this icon miraculously survived, and it performs miracles and wonders. This famous icon was made in Russia by a Russian Christian artist in 1887 and paid for by the late Ioannis Rokakis of Kissamos. Today it has a silver coat, a gift by an anonymous Christian, and on it there is a multitude of valuable dedications by the clergy and the faithful, as well as offerings with the shape of the healed body part of sick and suffering people that felt relief or were cured thanks to the interference and mediation of our great Father and Saint.
At the bottom right corner of the icon there is an inscription with a brief history and the continuous miraculous intervention by the Saint on the land and its people.
ECCLESIASTICAL MUSEUM OF THE PARISH
We consider it our obligation and duty to safeguard our ecclesiastical treasures and national heritage. There cannot be a civilised people or nation that does not respect, make the most of and safeguard the treasures of the past, which are its face in the world and its civilization in the present and the future.
Our parish, taking this duty seriously, it was with great respect that it erected this ecclesiastical museum which exhibits and safeguards holy relics and spiritual treasures that escaped the sacrilege of the past and define the land’s culture.
Our parish museum hosts icons of different styles and periods that form interesting groups, spanning over a period of at least two centuries. The museum is also adorned by fine-art sacred items (crosses for blessing and consecration, chalices, incense holders, candle holders, antimensions) and 19th and 20th century liturgy books, most precious of which is the holy gospel of 1818 written in special writing, as well as sacred clerical and high-ranking priest vestments of late priests and high priests of our parish, the Metropolis.
Besides the other precious relics, our museum hosts a brocade clerical costume, a gift offered by the wife of Prince George II.
The visitors’ book is signed daily by locals and foreigners who visit it and look upon it as a living testament of love and respect to the local tradition and history and we believe they leave with good impressions.
The Holy Metropolis of Kissamos and Selino is located on west Crete and today it includes Kissamos and Selino, the two western provinces of the Municipality of Chania. The base of the Metropolis is the town of Kissamos. Today it counts 80 parishes with enormous charitable and humanitarian work either through its parishes or the establishments of the Metropolis, an effort led by his Eminence the Archbishop of Kissamos and Selino, Mr. Amfilochios.
The convent of the Parthenon is a contemporary convent dedicated to Saint Mary of the Spring. It was founded in 1905 and renovated in 1962. It housed the Urban School for Girls and the first School for the Deaf and Dumb in Crete