Code CHURCH0016
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Source / Origin

Monument Name Rock Church of St. Theodores
Source / Origin

Related Institution Holy Diocese of Alexandroupolis, Traianopolis and Samothrace

Origin / Location
Location Name Avantas in Evros
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Short Description
Short Description On the southeastern slopes of Rhodope, mentioned in modern times as “God's Mountain”, north of Alexandroupolis, on the road to the community of Avantas, there is a passage crossed today bt the railway line of Komotini-Alexandroupolis.
At its entrance there is an imposing Byzantine fortress. It has square towers and in some places a double wall. The fortification controls a narrow passage, a gorge of the Rhodope massif, which is used by the modern railway. It is, probably, the Byzantine Peristeria, from which Theodore Komnenos passed in 1225, following the road from Gratsianos (modern Gratini of the Rhodopi prefecture) to Evros river, and also the armies of John Kantakouzenos in 1345. If one continues on the dirt road that passes in front of the castles of Potamos, after a course of five kilometres by the railway line, there is the famous cave of St. Theodores. The cave was turned into a chapel by adding a built iconostasis and having the surfaces of the rock painted, bringing in mind the cave churches of Cappadocia.
The walls and the iconostasis are richly decorated with Byzantine frescoes of two phases: The first dates to the late 11th century and belongs to the so called “monastic” style, the second to the late 12th-early 13th century and has the characteristics of the so-called “transition period”. Their art reflects the great tradition of hagiographies of Constantinople.