The church of Panagia Kera at Kritsa
The three-aisled, barrel-vaulted church of the All-Holy Virgin ‘the Lady’ with a dome on the nave is located to the south and at a distance of around 500 metres from the settlement of Kritsas. The church is one of the most important visited monuments of Crete because of its extensive and well-preserved wall painting decoration from various periods of Byzantine art. The original church, the present nave dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, was probably built during the middle Byzantine period and has wall painting decoration from two periods. The first layer which is partially preserved in the sanctuary is dated to the middle of the 13th century while the second layer with scenes from the Twelve Great Feasts on the dome belongs to the beginning of the 14th century when the church received an extensive restoration during which the dome was also rebuilt. Particular reference should be made to the depiction of St. Francis of Assisi, protector of the poor, who enjoyed veneration also from the Orthodox, with the characteristic habit of his order that leaves his stigmata uncovered. In the same period, i.e., the beginning of the 14th century, the south aisle, which was dedicated to St. Anna who is depicted in bust on the semi-dome of the conch of the sanctuary was painted by a very capable painter. The aisle is decorated with scenes from the Marian cycle from the apocryphal Gospels. In the middle of the 14th century, the north aisle, dedicated to St. Anthony, was also decorated. The depiction of the Second Coming on the entire barrel-vault of the aisle as well as the depiction of the donors from the family of George Mazizani on the south wall, suggest its possible use as a funerary chapel.