The Church of Saint Spyridon is situated in the heart of Corfu town just behind the Liston. Originally the church was built in San Rocco square but in 1590 was built at its present location.
The exterior of the church is typical of the Venetian architecture and its bell tower is the highest point in the town ensuring it can be seen for miles and when approaching by sea. The bell tower built in 1620 is plain and squarely profiled in an Italian style which resembles the Greek Church St. Giorgio’s Del Greci bell tower in Venice but with a red dome. Underneath the bell there is a clock with Latin numbers and gold pointers.
The top of the church is divided into 17 parts with golden frames painted by the artist, Panagiotis Doxaras, in 1727. However due to humidity these initial painting were destroyed and in 1852 the top of the church was restored by the artist Nikolaos Aspiotis.
Saint Spyridon, who is considered the keeper of Corfu and his remains can be found in the church behind the Alter, housed in a shrine made in Vienna in 1867. His remains are carried around the town of Corfu four times a year to celebrate his miracles (Palm Sunday, Good Friday, August 11th, first Sunday of November).
Saint Spyridon was born in 270 A.D. in Assia, a village in Cyprus and was a shepherd who married and had a daughter. After his wife’s death, his daughter entered a convent and he vowed to lead a monastic life. He studied and gained wisdom and grace in the religious virtues and participated in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (325) countering the theological arguments of Arius and his followers. He served as a Bishop of Trimythous, a district of Larnaca Cyprus, until he died in 348 A.D. When the Arabs conquered Cyprus, his body was disinterred and taken to Constantinople but his remains were found intact with a sprig of Basil. After Constantinople fell in 1453, his relics were moved to Corfu by the priest Grigorios Polyefktos.
It is believed Saint Spyridon saved Corfu four times from dangers, in 1629 & 1673 he saved the islanders from plague, in 1533 he saved the island from famine and in 1716 he saved it from the Ottoman attack, which is why he is the most important and revered of saints on the Island and many men and boys are named after him.