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Basilica with a cupola, three semi-circular arches to the east and a domed narthex to the west. The current architectural form is the result of alterations at various times, but the original structure probably dates from the Early Christian period (6th-7th centuries). In the 11th and 12th centuries the chapel of Aghios Ioannis was incorporated into the south side of the church. In 1539 a church official named Georgios Kougydas built buttresses onto the south wall. In 1697 the dome and narthex were added. In later centuries (18th – 20th) repairs were made and the bell tower was built on the northwest side. On several occasions, icons and other artefacts were were removed. Emperor Isaac II Angelos (1185-1195) removed the icon of the Elkomenos Christos (Christ in chains) and took it to the chapel of Archangel Michael at Sthenia, in Constantinople. In the second half of the 14th century the icon of the Crucifixion was stolen by illicit traders in antiquities and later on, was for many years exhibited at Athens’ Byzantine Museum. It was finally brought back to the Elkomenos Christos in 2011. It is considered to be one of the largest and most beautiful examples of what is known as the Palaeologian Renaissance and is of inestimable value. Today in the interior of the church are displayed post-Byzantine icons (17th-18th centuries) such as the Elkomenos Christos, the Virgin before the Cross, Aghios Ioannis Prodromos and the Birth of Christ on the altar screen, and the Lady of Pantanassa on the icon stand. The marble carvings date from the Early Christian and Byzantine periods. The marble altar screen was built in 1901 by the Tinos marble sculptor Georgios Kaparia to replace an older wood carved screen now standing in the Virgin of Myrtidiotissa. Watch full virtual tour of Church of Elkomenos Christos
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights. In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. Text by Steve Smith.