Walking in the beautiful coastal neighborhood of Mouragia we arrive at the area of Campiello and a typical steppe of Corfu that ends at the road above the sea. There we find the church of Antivouniotissa, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin “Lady Antivouniotissa” which is one of the most characteristic ecclesiastical monuments of the city of Corfu and was already in operation during the 15th century.
Antivouniwtissa, Temple – Monument
The name Antivouniotissa comes specifically from the location of the church on the hill of Antivouni. This hill is located opposite the Ovriovouni hill, where the Jews settled, before building the Jewish quarter on the outskirts of the New Fortress at the end of the 16th century. We do not know, however, whether the church was dedicated to the Virgin Mary from the beginning, a hypothesis that may be based on the surviving painted fresco with the representation of the Pantocrator mountain to the right of the iconostasis. In this position, the icon of the saint, to which the church is dedicated, is usually placed, this being Corfu. However, the church was very quickly dedicated to the Virgin Mary and specifically to the Virgin of “Epilochia”, which is commemorated by the Orthodox Church on December 26, a holiday known as the Meeting of the Virgin. This case is also supported by the traditional operation of the church on that day and the Antimension of the Sacristy.
It is the oldest, most complete and best preserved example of an "Ionian Basilica".
The church is single-aisled, wooden-roofed and is surrounded on three sides by an exonarthex. The stone iconostasis, the hagiographies and the roof of the church are some of the elements that rank it among the most important monuments of Corfu. To the east of the church there is a patio, where the imposing bell tower is located.
After the restoration operations on the monument in the years 1984, 1994 and 1999-2000 as well as the completion of the museological program, a rich and important collection of portable icons and relics is permanently exhibited in Antivouniotissa. The collection includes important works by renowned and anonymous artists, from the 15th century to the 20th century and fully represents six centuries of religious artistic expression and creation in Corfu and the Ionian Islands.
Ένωση Διπλωματούχων Ξεναγών Ιονίων Νήσων & Δυτικής Ελλάδας. «Μουσείο Αντιβουνιώτισσας», https://corfu-guides.com/museum/moyseio-antivoyniotissas/
ΣΟΥΡΤΖΙΝΟΣ, Γιώργος Χ. (2006). “Κέρκυρα: ταξίδι στο χρόνο“, Ιστορική – Λαογραφική Εταιρεία Κέρκυρας, γ’ έκδ., σελ. 45