Christian Art Museum

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The Museum of Christian Art “Saint Catherine of Sinai” is housed in a cruciform church dedicated to St. Catherine. It is located in the city center, close to the old and the current Metropolitan church of St. Minas.
The church was founded in the second Byzantine period and was a centre of intellectual activity from the 15th to the 17th century. It was a kind of multiform school offering a variety of courses such as language, logical reasoning, rhetoric, mathematics, painting and music courses. Many renowned Cretans who excelled in letters, arts as well as within the Orthodox Church, such as Michael Damaskinos- the most important representative of the Cretan School in painting- graduated from the school.
Under Ottoman rule, it was converted into a mosque, known as the Zulfikar Ali Pasha Mosque.
Nowadays St. Catherine church operates as an exhibition venue owned by the Holy Archdiocese of Crete which displays Cretan Renaissance works that survive to this day.
The main theme of the exhibition is the Christian Art developed in Crete from the 14th to the 19th century. Among its most remarkable exhibits are two portable icons created by two significant figures which represent the Cretan School of Hagiography, Angelos Akotantos (in the early 15th century) and Michael Damaskinos (16th century) whose works such as “Η Βάτος” (Burning Bush), “Η θεία Λειτουργία” (Divine Liturgy), “Μη μου Άπτου” (Touch me not), “Η Προσκύνησις των Μάγων” (Adoration of the Kings), “Ο Μυστικός Δείπνος” (The Last Supper) and the “Α΄ Οικουμενική Σύνοδος” (First Ecumenical Council) once decorated the small church of St. Minas. The exhibition also showcases frescoes, representative works of stone carving, wood sculpture, post-Byzantine metal work and miniature crafts, coins, devotional objects, surplice (liturgical vestments), embroidery, manuscripts and incunabula.

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