HISTORY OF HOLY METROPOLIS OF ARTA
It is not precisely know when Arta became an Episcopal see and who her first bishops were. It is first reported in Emmanuel Komninos' "Taktikon" (1143-1180) as an episcopate under the jurisdiction of "Eparchy of Nafpactos and Nikopoleos". Thus it appears that it became an Episcopal see during the 12th century, when Arta was at its acme. First reported bishop appears to be Basileios.
A chronographer of Epirus named P. Aravantinos, reports that Arta from the 13th century and up to 1820, was part of the Eparchy titled "Artis and Naypactou, exarch of Aitolias".
One of the most important bishops of the Eparchy of Nafpactos was Ioannis Apokafkos, who was at his devotions during the period of the acme of the Despotate of Epirus (1205-1230). He also made Arta the second centre of his Eparchy with the convergence of Synods and the election of archpriests at the regions that were included in the Despotate. During that period, Arta was an Episcopal see with bishop Ioannis who succeeded Ioannis Apokafkos. The first however Metropolitan of Nafpactos that was actually placed in Arta was the former archbishop of Lefkada named Matthaios in 1367. After that year Metropolitans have once again returned to Nafpactos baring the title "Metropolitans of Nafpactos-Nikopoleos". Since 1507 the Metropolitan Efthymios bares the title "Metropolitan of Nafpactos and Artis". This title is maintained until the Greek Revolution. Occasionally this Eparchy was under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan of Ioannina as was in 1383 and during the years 1808-1813 for political reasons mainly.
After the liberation and the establishment of the first Greek state, the Eparchy of Nafpactos - Artis is divided to the free part that constitutes the Metropolis of Aitolias - Akarnanias and to the part under occupation that constitutes the Eparchy of Arta and Preveza.
Since August 1882, with the new delimitation of borders between Greece and Turkey, the Ecclesiastical region of Arta and Preveza is divided again. The liberated section depends on the jurisdiction of Autokefalous of Church of Greece up to today and constitutes the Holy Eparchy of Arta. The under possession section constituted and still constitutes the reformed Eparchy of Nikopoleos and Preveza.
Today, the Eparchy borders Arachthos river to the West, from his estuaries up to the village Kalarrytes, near to Syrrako, Acheloos river to the North East and Roy of torrent Anninos and Amvrakikos gulf to the North.
Church of Arta during the years of the troubled times of our Nation, safeguarded the Christian and Greek soul of Artaís population.
The Episcopate and the other Administrative Services of Holy Eparchy are found on the regional road. An impressive colonnade portico leads to the old Metropolitan Temple of Arta dedicated in Saint Merkourio. Itís a building of the 18th century and itís placed on the older Byzantine Temple of Virgin Mary Perivleptou. With the recapture of the temple and the space of the Episcopate from Turks and the renovation and reestablishment on the 21st of November 1834 from Neophytos the 3rd, Metropolitan of Arta, the temple also celebrates the Presentation of Virgin Mary.
Today the Metropolitan Temple is the temple of Saint Demetrius that is found in the centre of city. Patron saint and protector of Arta, is Saint Theodora, the glorious queen of the Despotate of Epirus. Her memory is honoured with particular glory on the 11th of March.