The Church of the Virgin Gorgoepikoos (swift-hearing, Παναγίας Γοργοεπηκόου) was built in the early 15th century as a cemetery church and stood inside the fortified town of Kos.
It is a single-aisle church, with a vaulted roof, a three-sided apse and two entrances, one to the south and another to the west side. Ancient spolia (architectural elements and inscriptions) were used in the construction of the pointed vault of the roof and the upper parts of the walls. The holy bema is separated by a wood-carved iconostasis of exquisite art, dating from the 18th century.
Set at the centre of the floor of the naos (shrine) is a marble gravestone of the mid 19th century of Hadji Constantinos Hadji Demetriou, who was a member of the first six-man council of elders (demogerontia), appointed by the primates of Chora (Kos Town) in 1843.
The appellative of the Virgin as Gorgoepikoos (Swift-Hearing), Gorgopegen (Swift Source) or Gorgopoien (Swift Doing) refers to the belief in the Grace of the Mother of God, who hears (Epikoos) the petitions of the faithful who resort to her and responds to them swiftly.
The iconographic layout of the church is developed in two layers of wall-paintings, executed in the mid-15th and the early 16th century. The latter layer is attributed to the workshop of the painter Nikolaos, who also historiated churches at Palaio Pyli and in the castle of the Hora of Kalymnos.
The decoration of the holy bema is developed in three zones: Six Officiating Hierarchs are depicted in the lower zone, the Holy Eucharist (Metalepses and Metadoxes) in the middle zone and in the conch of the apse the Deesis with Christ enthroned, the Virgin and St. John the Baptist. In the vault is the scene of the Ascension.
The representations in the naos (shrine) are in the form of panels, as icons for veneration. On the north wall is the figure of Archangel Michael as Conductor of Souls (Psychopompos), before whom a youthful dedicator kneels in prayer. In a second panel is the Deesis of St. John the Theologian and St, John Chrysostomos to Christ. Last is the dormition of the virgin, with the three members of the dedicating family (the parents and their adolescent son) in attendance. In all probability, the parents were the donors of the church, who pray for their dead son. The Western-style dress and hairstyles of the figures denote their prosperity and the high status they enjoyed in Coan society.
(Source: Ministry of Culture – 4th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities)