Before the construction of "Big Taxiarchis" the villagers used to have as their main church that of Old Taxiarchis. You can go to this church by following the road which starts from the square. The dome with the icon and the suspended oil-lamp at the side road he will meet, the "proskynima" as it is named, leads to the old church of Taxiarches.
The New Church of Taxiarchis
The church is dedicated to Taxiarches - Archangels: Michael and Gabrielle. It is usually called "The Big Taxiarchis" by the villagers so that to be distinguished from the other church of Taxiarchis which is more ancient and smaller in size. That one is named "The Old Taxiarchis".
The new church of Taxiarchis is located where the central circular tower of the castle used to be. That tower was deserted after the Genoans withdrawal and during the Turkish Occupation. The villagers decided to demolish it and to build the church.
The demolition began in 1858 and lasted for two years. The construction of the church began right after and was completed in 1868. The whole work lasted for 10 years and the workers received 3,500 sovereigns for payment. The transporters who carried the material from the capital received 120 sovereigns. In addition the villagers participated voluntarily in the construction.
The entire expanse of the church along with the courtyard occupies 985.5 square metres, while the building is 450 square meters in area. The church of Taxiarches is the biggest in Chios and one of the biggest in entire Greece.
As a monumental work that was admired even by those who contributed in its construction, it caused the villagers' inspiration of many stories, some of which derive from reality, while some other ones do not.
The church outside has a two-way double staircase on the top of which the bell-tower rises. The big bell-tower is very recent. Both the staircase and the bell-tower are made of stone from Thymiana, a village near the capital where a special kind of stone is produced. Later, when the steps showed signs of wear they were replaces by new ones made of local stone. the stairs lead to the churchyard, which is composed by remarkable patterns made of black and white pebbles. Pebbly yards are very typical of the architecture of Chios. On the right side of the courtyard the stairs lead to a place set apart for women. In the narthex a remain of the tower can be noticed: it is the cistern for water , fountana as it is called in Mesta.
Inside, the church is divided into 3 aisles, the central of which is elevated. The pillars that support this aisle are monolithic but have unfortunately been covered by lime mortar and paint due to more recent repairings. The central aisle is dedicated to Taxiarches, while the North one is dedicated to St. Charalambos and the South one to the Apostles. The icon screen of the church was extempore and wooden in the beginning. The present one is made of brick and it has been constructed in 1895. The two icons of Taxiarches which adorn the icon screen are part of the icon screen of "Old Taxiarchis". Many votive offerings are remarkable and complement the prompt of the church. They have been offered by faithful villagers who come from all corners of earth.
Apart from the present ones which have been donated by some villagers who dwell in Athens, Thessaloniki, USA and Australia, sacerdotal vestments, icons and Holly Books of great historical importance have been either brought by the villagers from Russia in the beginning of the century, or sent from Egypt by members of the Mesta community there.
The altar is made of cement and its upper part of a massive monolith. In accordance with some written sources, it took a whole night and work of many people to bring the stone from Limenas to the village.
Returning to the square, the visitor is positive that he has noticed all elements of the late popular architecture of Chios in New Taxiarchis, which is one of the most representative examples of this architecture.