Panagia Ekatontapyliani is the gem of Paros, also known as the Church of 100 Doors, it is a historic Byzantine church complex and an ancient temple of Artemis located in the town of Paroikia. This complex contains a main temple surrounded by two smaller ones as well a baptistery on the east side with a rare marble cruciform font.
The origin of the church’s name is obscure, as it does not have one hundred doors or gates. One theory suggests that it is a corruption of the name “Katapoliani”, i.e. “the Downtown Church”, as it is situated by the sea at the lower part of Parikia.
The church dates back to 326 AD. Its oldest features likely predate the adoption of Christianity as well as the state religion of the Roman Empire in 391 AD. The church was allegedly founded by the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (ruled 306–337 AD), Saint Helen, during her pilgrimage to the Holy Land when she stopped to worship at a chapel on the island.
In later history Justinian is also credited for initiating construction on the site. The site was badly damaged by an earthquake in the 18th century, but gradually restored. Ekatontapyliani is renowned for the pilgrimages that take place there all in the name of the Virgin Mary. It is the second largest pilgrimage destination in the Aegean, second only to the famous Megalochare on nearby Tenos Island. Inside the main church you can still see the two remaining columns from the temple of Artemis on which Ekatontapiliani was built.