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Virgin Mary Spilaiotissa

After the d'Anjoux eliminated (d'Anjou - 1272) the Greek Orthodox Metropolite of Corfu (in an attempt to change the people's creed), Corfuno longer had a Cathedral. The Corfiots considered the Cathedral to be, instead, the church where the head priest was in charge (as a substitute of the Metropolite, with administrative and regulatory powers, but without unction and without the possibility to perform consecrations). The last "Cathedral" was Agios Nikolaos dei Vecchi, Agios Ioannis and Taxiarches (1712-1841) (destroyed during World War II).

When the Orthodox Russians become rulers of Corfu, with Admiral Usakov in the lead, who was to be later declared a Saint of the Russian Church (1799), the first Greek state of the Ionian State was founded (1800) and the Orthodox Metropolite was rehabilitated. In 1841, the church of Voirgin Mary Spilaiotissa was declared to be the Cathedral of Corfu.

The main church was built in 1577 and   it got its actual form in 1913 with some major transformations. When the church became the Cathedral of Corfu, the icon of Virgin Mary Dimosiana was transferred there, (the protector of Cprfu Town 15th century), as well as the holy relique of Agia Theodora the Emperess (brought to Corfu from Constantinople by clergyman Gregorios Polyefktos in 1456).
You can admire the templon and the icons, fruit of the wonderful 16th century art, as well as the templon doors with the icons of the Cretan hagiographer Emmanuel Tzanes. 

We also highlight the large icon of the Crucifiction (Paleologian manner) and the three oversized paintings of Italian manner, with representations of the Old Testament, parts of a tetralogy (the fourth painting of which was destroyed by the bombardments of World War II). You will also see work of the great painters Damaskinos (16th century) and Paramythiotis (18th century).

The name Spileotissa is due to the adjacent gate "Porta Spilea", which was one of the main entrances gated to the Town.  

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Source: www.corfuvisit.net

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