Saint Titus Church in Heraklion: An imposing temple of Byzantine origins
From 1925, 5 years after the demolition of its minaret, till this day it is an orthodox church dedicated to Saint Titus the Apostle.
In a small chapel inside the church, the holy skull of Saint Titus is kept.
Image by Kate M
Throwback in time
It is worth to mention that of the three subsequent buildings hosting the Latin Ardiocese in Candia, dedicated to Apostle Titus (the founder of the Cretan Church) none is preserved. The original building was probably founded during the second Byzantine period. The Venetian used it with few alterations and the church used to be one of the most imposing temples of the city. The building was rebuilt in 1446 and then again in 1550.
Shortly after the city fell to the Ottomans, the building was converted to a mosque dedicated to Fazil Ahmet Paşa Köprülü (Vizier Çamii) following the eclectic architectural designs of Athanassions Moussis.
*Image courtesy of koules.efah.gr
Right before leaving Candia, the Venetians managed to transfer all sacred relics that were guarded in the church, to Venice. The only relic that came back to Crete is the skull of Saint Titus, returned in 1966.
(image courtesy of agiostitos.gr)
Even after a number of natural disasters, the restoration works were immediate since it was the city’s most significant religious monument.
In 1925, following the population exchange, the temple came within the jurisdiction of the Church of Crete.
About Saint Titus:
Not so much reliable information is known about him. Saint Titus was probably born at Corinth or Crete and was a close associate of Saint Paul the Apostle. Titus was born the 1st century AD, was the first bishop of Crete and he is celebrated every 25th of August.
There are plenty modern cafeterias and restaurants around Saint Titus church and if you are in town for the evening, you should enjoy it at night time, when beautiful lights set off this imposing monument.
Image by tzivgeorge
Take some time to go to the back side of the temple, you will be encountered by a calm garden and you will have the chance to enjoy a calm time, surrounded by trees and a small fountain.
Image by polinaaf
Find Saint Titus Church on Google Map
Platia Agiou Titou
Tel.: 2810-283091 or 2810-346079
Daily from 17:00 – 21:00
Winter Times: 16:30 – 20:30
Some reviews from TripAdvisor users who visited the temple
Sadly nowadays like elsewhere, a lot of these beautiful churches have to be closed unless a service is taking place. Fortunately this was open on my first visit to Heraklion. I was able to take a few moments to take in the surroundings and spent some thought in reverance. Candles wee easy to buy and light in memory of loved ones. A tradition I established some time ago and do wherever I travel to when I can.
This is a beautiful interior. Sadly I’m my subsequent visit a large funeral was taking place
Γεώργιος Π. Αθήνα
Πολύ εντυπωσιακό κτίσμα !
Όμορφη κατασκευή , με χάρη και φιλέτσα άλλων εποχών ,
την πλησιάζεις εύκολα διασχίζοντας την Λότζια
( το κτήριο του σημερινού Δημαρχείου ) .
Αφιερώστε χρόνο .
By bonjoyhal, Boston Massachusetts
Skull of St Titus
Skull of St Titus, disciple of Apostle Paul and 1st bishop of Crete, is kept in a silver reliquary. Quite moving witnessing elder Greeks’ devotion. Extraordinary wood carvings to decor.
Attractive without being beautiful inside (although lovers of iconology may disagree)
Attractive on the outside this church isn’t that old now (although it has a very rich history since it was originally thought to have been built around 960AD). However, it was destroyed completely by an earthquake in 1856 and then re-built. It is in a nice part of the town near a pedestrian zone. In personal taste I found St Minas a lot more attractive inside.
By Ian M, Halesworth, United Kingdom
We came across this lovely church by chance, situated off the main street in a quiet square. As we approached I thought it was a mosque. It had indeed been one during the Turkish occupation , but is now dedicated to St Titus. Fabulously adorned with beautiful icons, richly decorated with intricate carvings and with several shrines, this beautiful church is an oasis of quiet and calm from the busy life of Heraklion. As we left a young girl was playing an accordion by the entrance steps, which just added to our wonderful experience.
By KathleenK367, Cheyenne, Wyoming
Lovely Greek church
This church is a stop on the pedestrian walkway. It was a nice spot to take a quiet moment and reflect. Stainglass windows were beautiful. There was no fee charged although Donations were much appreciated.
Hung in the middle of the sanctuary is an intricately carved wood chandelier with Stainglass pictures… beautiful!!
Definitely worth a stop and look!
Church’s interior – Image by Claudio D
Reviews by Google Users
It is a rather newly built edifice of the 20th century styled in an original type. On this place in the 10th century was a church, much later was a mosque. Demolished upon the earthquake in the 18th century.
The Holy Church of Saint Titus the Apostle is a unique architectural sample of the Venetian occupation of Crete. Its exterior resembles that of a Venetian temple, yet its interior combines elements of the Byzantine aesthetic of churches. In a small chapel within the church the Holy Skull of Saint Titus is preserved within a case embroidered with gold.