Ag Stratigos Taxiarchis, Megali Kastania, West Mani

Restauration of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Messinia with the kind support of the Municipality of West Mani.
The Church of St. General Taxiarchis in Megali Kastania of West Mani, officiated by Rev. 
Metropolitan of Mani Chrysostom III.

The restoration was done in an exemplary way in collaboration with the Hellenic Society of Environment and Culture, with the generous funding of Thanasis and Marina Martinou, who have funded and in fact saved from time, abandonment and the difficulty of the State many monuments of our Culture , putting his hand deep in his pocket.

The church of Taxiarchis or Ai Stratigos, in Niokastro, just outside Kastania in Messinian Mani , is one of the most important monuments in the area.

It is a cross-roofed church with a dome from the beginning of the 13th century, to the south of which an impressive side gallery was built a little later, which seems to have served as a narthex.
The portico, built with elaborate brick-enclosed masonry, is structured on its facades with beautiful double openings, while another zone with double-glazed false windows is formed in the upper part of its southern side. Of unique importance are the frescoes of the 13th century that decorate the interior of the gallery, which include an artistic depiction of the Holy Trinity, one of the few known in Byzantine monumental painting.

The peculiar structure of the facades of the monument of Kastania, generally unknown in ecclesiastical architecture, seems to be inspired by the famous aristocratic houses of the middle and late Byzantine period, on the facades of which were formed galleries and rows of impressive windows. The monument was facing very serious structural problems , while the entire vault of the small cross-roofed core had collapsed for many decades.
The poor condition of the roof of the gallery had caused extensive damage to the painted decoration of the temple.

The study for the restoration of the monument was prepared by the architect-restorer Georgios Nino and the scientific staff of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Messinia.
In 2015, conservators of the Ephorate carried out the immediate rescue work at the monument.
The restoration of the church and the side gallery began in January 2016 by Mnemiotechniki Ltd., under the supervision of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Messinia, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Marina and Thanassis Martinou .