is the oldest known rock-cut church in the region, and comprises of four
sections: The Old Church
with one nave; the New Church; the Lower
Church under the Old Church; and the Parecclesion to the north of
the New Church.
The single-naved, barrel-vaulted Old Church, built in the 10th century,
today acts as the entrance to the New Church. Its apse collapsed when the
New Church was added to the east wing. Frescoes are to be found on
the vault and at the top of the walls. The life of Jesus is told on separate
panels on the vault, running from left to right.
Scenes:Portraits of the saints are in the center of the vault. On the top
panel of the right wing are Annunciation, Visitation, Proof of the Virgin,
Journey to Bethlehem, and Nativity. On the top panel of the left
wing are, Adoration of the Magi, Massacre of the Innocents, Flight into
Egypt, Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and Killing of Zacharias. On
the middle panel of the right wing are, Pursuit of Elizabeth, Calling of
St. John the Baptist, Preaching of John, John meeting Jesus, Baptism and
Marriage at Cana. On the middle panel of the left wing are, Miracle of
the Wine, Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, Calling of the Apostles, Healing
of the Blind Man and Raising of Lazarus. On the lower panel of the
right wing are Entry into Jerusalem, Last supper, Betrayal and Jesus before
Pilate. On the left lower panel of the left wing are Way of the Cross,
Crucifixion , Descent from the Cross, Entombment, Women at the Tomb, Anastasis
and Ascension. Beneath this panel are portraits of the saints , and Transfiguration
is painted over the entrance.
The New Church is transversally rectangular with a simple barrel voult.
On the east wall there are four columns joined by arches, behind which
there is a raised corridor in front of the main apse and two side apses.
On this barrel vaulted nave is the story of Jesus in chronological order
in mainly bright red and blue colours. The dark blue colour serves to distinguish
the Tokal? Church from the other churches.
On the transversal nave are scenes from the life of St. Basil, portraits of
some saints and pictures of the Miracles of Jesus. The Church is dated
back to last decade of the 10th century and the first decade of the 11th
Scenes: On the north wing of the vault are Annunciation, Visitation, Proof
of the Virgin, Nativity and Adoration of the Magi. On the north wall of
the vault are Joseph's Dream and Journey to Bethlehem and below these in
the niches are portraits of 8 saints. At the very bottom are Calling of
St. John the Baptist, John meeting Jesus, Baptism, Presentation of Jesus
in the Temple, Calling of Matthew, Calling of the Apostles and Marriage
at Cana; on the west wing Flight into Egypt, Temptation of Christ and Christ
in the Temple when Twelve Years Old, on the south wing of the vault are
the First Diacons, Pentecost and Blessing and Mission of the Apostles;
on the south wall of the vault are some unidentified angels, below
them, in the niches, are portraits of saints; at the very bottom are Healing
of the Nobleman's Son, Raising the Daughter of Jairus, Healing the Paralytic,
Raising of Lazarus, Entry into Jerusalem and Last Supper. On the west wing
is Washing of the Disciples' Feet, on the main apse conch are Crucifixion,
Descent from the Cross, Women at the Tomb, Anastasis, on the front wall
of the apse are the First Diacons and Jesus and the Samaritan Woman; inside
the niche is Mother Mary and baby Jesus; and on the apse to the north is
Prophetic Vision and angels.