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September 20, 2006

Apostle Titus church in Iraklio

One of the highlights of our trip to Iraklio for me was visiting the Saint Titus church in the centre of town.


The Apostle Titus was a companion of Saint Paul on his evangelical missions to the gentiles of Europe, and although he also apparently performed missionary work in Corinth and Dalmatia, it is Crete where he is believed to have died and is venerated as the first Bishop.


There is very little evidence about what Titus achieved on the island, but he is a prominent figure on Cretan Christian legend. According to some sources Titus visited Jerusalem and heard Jesus preach in person, and was present at Paul's death in Rome and helped to bury the Apostle. Others say that Titus was present at the crucifixion of Jesus, and that he performed miracles on Crete causing statues and temples of the pagan gods to collapse.

His mission is preserved in the New Testament, where one of Saint Paul's letters to his former companion survives. Paul didn't seem to think much of the Cretans, since his letter to Titus is mostly a rebuke, and includes the reported accusation that Cretans are "liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons".


The skull of Saint Titus is not on display, but now resides in the church having been returned from Venice last century.


Sadly it wasn't possible to go completely inside the Church, as the entrance was roped off, but it was a very beautiful church with some brilliant icons, as you'd expect from one of the key religious centres on the whole of the island.

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