Patron Saint of Lefkada Town Santa Maura
Lefkada is one of the seven Ionian islands of Greece and derives its name from Ancient Greece. In particular, ancient Corinthians named the island Lefkada which in Greek means ‘white’ because of its white cliffs on its southwest part. However, when the Franks and Venetians ruled the island the island’s ex name was Santa Maura. In particular, the Franks Angevins from Anjou of France conquered Lefkada and detached it from the Byzantium territory. During their rule (1294-1479 AD) they built in 1302 AD first (by Orsini family) and in 1332 AD after (by Gautier de Brienne of Anjou) the fortress of Lefkada. They gave the name of Sainte Maure to the castle to honour the patron saint of their home city in France. Also, later they built a chapel in the name of Sainte Maure inside the castle. During the Venetian rule the whole island took the name of Santa Maura. For this reason, Santa Maura became also the patron saint of Lefkada town.
History of the Santa Maura Church
After 1479 AD when the Ottomans occupied the castle they converted the christian church of the castle to a mosque. However, in 1684 AD the Venetians came back to rule the island until 1797 AD. Then the temple became again a catholic christian church of Santa Maura. In 1810 AD an English bombardment burned the little church completely. The English rule of the island lasted from 1817 until 1864 AD. The latter was the year that all the Ionian islands unified with the rest of Greece. Finally, in 1880 AD the Greek major Nikolaos Tseroulis, that time the garrison commander of Lefkada town, rebuilt again the church in the castle. Today, Santa Maura is the patron saint of Lefkada and is honoured every year in the castle on 3rd of May. The Metropolitan church of Lefkada keeps in public view the first holy icon of Santa Maura.