The legend of Agios Spyridon

by Bert Maxwell /
Bert Maxwell's picture
May 22, 2013 / 0 comments

Corfu is a gorgeous place for a holiday, particularly if you’re after very warm weather and fascinating Greek culture and history. A top spot if you want somewhere with a bit of history along with the sunshine is Agios Spyridonas, also called Saint Spyridon, named after Saint Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous.


As with so much of Greece, there’s an interesting story behind the name, particularly if you’re into Greek history and legend. Saint Spyridon lived from around 270 to 348, and is recognised as a saint in both Europe and Western Chinese traditions. Despite this area of Corfu being named after him, Spyridon was actually born in Cyprus and worked as a shepherd before becoming a monk following the death of his wife. He later went on to become Bishop of Trimythous.


One of the fascinating legends surrounding Saint Spyridon is that he once converted a pagan philosopher to Christianity by using a fragment of broken pottery to describe how piece of pottery could be made up of three separate elements: fire, clay, and water, as a metaphor for the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In this legend, as soon as Spyridon ended the metaphor, the piece of pottery burst into flames, water dripped to the ground, and dust was left in his hand. He is known as the patron saint of potters, as well as the keeper of the city (for expelling plague from the island!). He showed up again in 1716, at the 2nd siege of Corfu – opposing sailors saw a monk threatening them with a lit torch – and they panicked and ran.


St Spyridon, Greece

This store selling candles and icons is located right next to the church of St Spyridon. Saint Spyridon is the patron saint of Corfu.


You should also visit the monastery of Agia Ekaterini, founded in 1713 and home to some fantastic 18th and 19th century frescoes within its church. 


Besides all the impressive Greek myths and legends, Agios Spyridon is a fabulous place to visit for its gorgeous natural scenery, with its two bays overlooking the stunning Albanian hills. The seas are a beautiful turquoise colour and are surrounded by dramatic rock faces on either side of the bays. There are pretty wild flowers and butterflies lining the nature reserve just a short walk away from the beaches.


St Spyridon, Greece


Close to the nature reserve is the popular Mareblue Beach Resort, with lovely, large gardens and fabulous views of the beautiful Ionian Sea. If you want to stay somewhere that makes the most of Agios Spyridon’s natural beauty, then this is the place to be. It’s especially good for families and couples (plenty of play areas) and sits within the resort’s two bays. There are two beautiful pools available, if you prefer pool to sea.


St Spyridon


Antinioti Lagoon is not far from the main resort and is also not to be missed. Pack some insect repellent, though as the lagoon, attracts mosquitoes!


Hungry? There are three tavernas in town – Taverna Olive Press, Taverna Valentino, and Taverna Molos. There’s also a supermarket, to purchase fresh items, and a tourist shop next door.


St Spyridon, Greece


Agios Spyridon is located between Kassiopi and Acharavi.





Photos courtesy of flickr creative commons:

Beach and sunsets: