Berroia
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Old Metropolis

Berroia (modern Vera) is a city at the west end of the central Macedonian plain. In late antiquity Berroia belonged to the province of Macedonia I. In the 7th century Drougoubitai settled in the plain below the city. In the late 8th century the empress Irene is said to have rebuilt Berroia and named it Eirenoupolis; some texts, including Theophanes, place Berroia-Eirenoupolis in Thrace. The 10th-century Taktikon of Escurial mentions a strategos of Berroia alongside that of Strymon, and an act of 1196 specifically names the theme of Berroia. For a short time Samuel of Bulgaria held the city, but in 1001 Dobromir, its kalarchon (i.e., governor or master), surrendered Berroia to Basil II. The city does not appear again in the sources until the end of the 12th century. 
After 1204 Berroia was assigned to Boniface of Montferrat. In 1224 it was taken by Theodore I Komnenos Doukas of Epiros, then in 1246 by John III Vatatzes. John VI Kantakouzenos took an interest in Berroia, but in 1343/4 it was surrendered to Stefan Uroš IV Dušan; Kanta-ouzenos retook the city in 1350, but it soon fell again into Serbian hands and was administered from 1358 by the Serbian noble Radoslav Chlapen. Berroia was once more Byzantine around 1375, but Ottoman attacks began at just that time. The Turks seized the city several times, definitively by around 1430. The bishopric of Berroia, suffragan of Thessaloniki, is known from 347. After 1261 Michael VIII promoted Berroia to an archbishopric, and by 1300 it had become a metropolis.
A considerable number of the monuments of the Byzantine city have survived, and some of the many post-Byzantine churches may have been built on Byzantine foundations. An Early Christian cemetery with more than 50 tombs has been excavated. Some churches with frescoes of the 12th and 13th century are still standing, but the most significant monument is the Church of the Anastasis, an unpretentious, single-aisled basilica with spectacular frescoes dated by inscription to the year 1315. The artist is named Kallierges, the donors a certain Psalidas and his wife Euphrosyne. The paintings bear comparison with the mosaics of the Pammakaristos in Constantinople and the Holy Apostles in Thessaloniki, and especially with the frescoes of St. Nicholas Orphanos, also in Thessaloniki. The program of the Anastasis church includes "panels" of the Crucifixion and the Anastasis in niches opposite each other. On the north and south walls are a Feast cycle with an expanded Passion sequence and the portrait of a monk in proskynesis before St. Artemios. The church may have been the katholikon of a patriarchal monastery. The old cathedral is a Byzantine construction using spolia from some Early Christian basilica. 

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Church of the Anastasis

Photo by Pjpo Sullivan

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Church of the Anastasis

Photo by Pjpo Sullivan

Sources

Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan

Resources

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Created by David Hendrix Copyright 2016