The History of the Church in Riganokampos
In our city, and specifically in the area of Riganokampos, there existed from the 10th century a three-aisled, wooden-roofed Basilica dedicated to the Great Martyr of Christ Irene with a three-aisled altar, Diakoniko and Nartheka,existed from the 10th century, which was kept in liturgical use until the 17th century. This Temple came to the surface again in December 1984 after an excavation was carried out on a plot of land in the area of Riganokampos in order to remove the foundations of a private residence and which excavation was carried out on behalf of the 6th tax office of Byzantine Antiquities based in Patras by the renowned Archaeologist Mrs. Aphentra Moutzali who also published her findings on the above findings in scientific journals.
This Holy temple which was cruciform, i.e. it belonged to the spiritual jurisdiction of the great Church of Christ in Constantinople, possessed as the most precious treasure the honorable Cranium of the Holy Great Martyr Irene, a Saint with a wonderful life and great missionary activity, who lived in the 4th century and was martyred at Magedo in Persia.
The Holy Skull, as mentioned in historical data of that time, was part of the precious "treasure of Patras" and was kept in this "illustrious Pauline" until the period when the Franks conquered Byzantium and by extension the City of Patras.
Thus, in this period of the Frankish rule (1204-1430), many treasures of inestimable material or spiritual value fled to the West to remain until today awaiting their return, after long and often arduous efforts, to familiar but also unfamiliar places from where they fled illegally.
The Relic of Saint Irene, which the then Latin Archbishop of Patras Adelmos, who was dictatorially imposed by the Church of Rome after they had previously expelled the canonical Orthodox Metropolitan of Patras,was sent as a "gift" " in Hautecombe Monastery in Savoy, in addition to the other "spoils" and the Cranium of the Holy Martyr of Irene.The "donation" document, dated March 5, 1231, has been preserved to this day and is irrefutable evidence for the removal of the Relic from the Church of Saint Irene i and for its place of accommodation to this day, certainly amid a turbulent historical course intertwined with the historical and religious changes that took place in the area where Hautecombe Abbey is located.
All of these were brought back to light from the moment the existence of this historic Church of our Saint came to the surface and became the occasion for the area of Riganokampos to be associated with the name of the Saint again.
Initially, the immediate pursuits of our then Venerable Metropolitan Mr. Nicodemus and the faithful People were to erect a new church in honor of the Great Martyr Irene very close to the place where the three-aisled Basilica of the 10th century was found (since this Basilicawas not in use after the archaeological study did not utilized.)
The new church was founded on May 5, 1994, the day of our Saint's memory, in the presence of the political, municipal and military Authorities of our City, as well as a large number of believers.
It officially became a regular parish in August 1999 according to the Government sheet and for the first time functioned as a parish on October 3, 1999.The inauguration of the Holy Table of the Church takes place 2 years later on September 30, 2001 under the former Reverend Metropolitan Mr. Nikodimos.