St. Paraskevi's Church
Cete village, Kavajë – Cultural Monument K.I
St. Paraskevi’s Church is located on a hill east of Kavaja. The church is located among the crowns of olive trees in the hills of Ceta. This church was declared a cultural monument for its values in 1963. The church consists of a narthex, a nave and an altar.
On the floor of the church, there is a sun figure in the shape of a circle laid with stones. The Church of “Saint Friday” is built according to the Roman-Gothic style. On the inner face of the north wall there are two niches, which are covered by a low arch. The entrance to the church is from the western wall.
On the east side of the church we have the rectangular apse. The walls of the apse are built with the same technique as the other walls, but they are more square. The altar was separated from the nave by a wooden iconostasis.
The Holy Table is built of stones bound with mortar. The church was covered by a wooden roof. It is thought that the church was built around the 13th century. It seems that the craftsmen who worked on its construction did not know this type of building architecture well. 18 There are different legends about the construction of the church among the people.
Someone says that there were three knights of the crusades, who traveled the Egnatia road towards Constantinople and spent the night on the hill of the village of Çetë. At night, the three of them had seen a vision not to set off on their journey unless they built a church where they spent the night. The next morning they confessed to each other and built the “St. Paraskevi” church.
Another legend says that a young girl begged her father to build a church, because she had decided to dedicate herself to God, serving people in need. According to Theofan Popa, a legend says that the founders of the church were some merchants of Bulgarian origin.
This fact is confirmed by the inscription found on a stone slab above the western gate of the church: “Jan Milio, consul and Gjika and Ruso and Petro, his brothers, year 1690, July 15”. This inscription proves that the church of “Saint Friday” was the site of the Patriarchate of Ohrid and was rebuilt in 1690 by the consul of France, Jan Milio and his brothers. The frescoes of the church were made by the Zografi brothers, while the 16 icons of the church iconostasis were made in 1767 by Kostandin Shpatarakus. On the large icon of Christ found in the iconostasis of the church is written: “The hand of Hierodeacon Kostanini, from Shpati, year of Christ 1767”.
Many healings have taken place in this church, even in the years of the prohibition of religion, people came secretly and lit candles as a sign of hope. This church, which has withstood the centuries, was burned by someone’s carelessness. The flames damaged the roof of the church and the frescoes that were painted on the side walls. Only the frescoes on the altar have survived, but ironically the iconostasis with all the icons painted by Kostandin Shpataraku disappeared from the church a few years ago.
Info from: Andrea Llukani, ARTI KISHTAR NË SHQIPËRI (Sipas mbishkrimeve të kishave), Botimet “Trifon Xhagjika” Tiranë, 2014, pg. 28-29