Little Church Chronicles / Agios Taxiyarchis

A little church called Agios Taxiyarchis is nestled in the hills south of Magganitis.

Up hill from room
Our room is conveniently located on the steep slope leading up the mountainside.

Many trailheads in Ikaria are difficult to track down, and without actually travelling with a local, it can take a little while to find the right path.

Taxiyarchis Trailhead Sign
The sign for the trailhead to Agios Taxiyarchis.

After looking for this trailhead unsuccessfully for weeks, I discover it by accident while out walking one day.

Magganitis First School
The trail begins at the site of the first school of Magganitis, established in 1850.

First School of Magganitis

Taxiyarchis Trail

Taxiyarchis Trail

Taxiyarchis Bones
Animal bones are scattered everywhere on the dry gravelly trail.

Taxiyarchis Trail

Taxiyarchis Trail
I have been in Ikaria for long enough now that I am well-trained to follow the red dots while hiking.
Taxiyarchis Trail
So naturally, when I arrive at this gate, I follow the red dots through to the other side.
Taxiyarchis Canyon
This is where I lose the trail.

Taxiyarchis Canyon

This canyon of boulders is also riddled with streams and pools. The red dots are extremely difficult to locate in this area, and the boulders are wet and slippery.

Taxiyarchis Trail
The trail continues.

I finally cross the boulder canyon, and find the red dots again. But then I realize that the church I’m trying to get to is on the side of the ravine I just came from! It is visible from a distance, but where is the path?

Taxiyarchis from afar
Taxiyarchis from afar.

I go back to investigate. Sure enough, there is a tall fence separating me from the church.

Taxiyarchis Fence

I retrace my steps back through the gate I opened over an hour ago when I was so confidently following red dots. As it turns out, there is a short path to Agios Taxiyarchis on the other side. Within five minutes, and close to sundown, I am standing at my destination.

Taxiyarchis Exterior
Exterior of Agios Taxiyarchis.

Taxiyarchis Exterior

Saint Taxiyarchis is one of the patron saints of the Aegean islands. “Taxiyarchis” is translated literally as ‘commander,’ but the more commonly known English translation is ‘Archangel.’ More specifically, Taxiyarchis is often equated with Archangel Michael, leader and most powerful of all angels.

Taxiyarchis Exterior
Agios Taxiyarchis is surrounded by gnarled, ancient olive trees.
Taxiyarchis Key
The key is stored underneath a stone on the south side of the church.
Taxiyarchis Interior
The interior of Agios Taxiyarchis.
Taxiyarchis Bell
The last glint of evening sun hits the hills behind the church tower.

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