The Byzantine church of Saint Nikolaos Megalomatis (the Large-Eyed) or Stratilatis (the Commander) is situated on the east side of Mt Skopos, SE of the city of Zakynthos, and forms part of a lying in ruins later monastery complex of the 18th century. The strategic location of the site attached particular importance to the church, which affords a panoramic view to the west coast of the Peloponnese, where the castle of Kyllini (Chlemoutsi) dominates the landscape, overlooking the village of Vasiliko, too, where imperial estates extended traditionally in the Byzantine period.
The church constitutes one of the few specimens of Byzantine church architecture preserved in Zakynthos. On the monument co-occur elements that can be dated from the 10th to the 12th century. In its initial form, in the Byzantine times, the church complied with the two-column, cross-in-square type, probably with octagonal dome, narthex and porch. Three apses, standing on a raised platform, came off the east side of the building, the central one being three-sided on the outside and the lateral ones semi-circular. The tripartite narthex, on the west side of the building, comminicates with a vaulted porch to the west.
The church in the period of Venetocracy (1485-1797), according to the scanty written evidence available to us, was in use from 1513 until around 1809. In 1779 is ceded to a brotherhood and converted into a monastery.
In Venetian times, the architectural form of the churchwas similar to that retained until today, that is, a two-aisled basilica, as the north aisle and dome collapsed and the church was limited to the nave and south aisle with the addition of a timber gable roof. To the north side of the main church, at the place of the collapsed Byzantine north aisle, an annexe was added that comprised three chambers. The northernmost one served possibly as «archodariki» (reception hall) of the monastery, the central one as an auxiliary space, and the southern one as anteroom. The central door of the sourthern chamber was the entranceway to the church, also leading, via a stone staircase, to the outside.
The project «Consolidation, restoration, enhancement of the Byzantine Church of Saint Nikolaos Megalomatis», integrated into the Operational Programme «Western Greece-Peloponnese-Ionian Islands» of the NSRF 2007-2013, with a budget of 710.000,00 Euros, was impremented through audit and self-supervision initially by the 20th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquitiesand, since November 2014, by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Zakynthos.
The objective of interventions was to accomplish structural and aesthetic restoration of the monument, its protection from decay, as well as its revilatisation by upgrading its surroundings and access route. Works encompassed replacement and completion of masonry, placement of anchor bolts and girders at the arches of the church, structural consolidation of walls in the Venetian annexe, conservation of portable and stable finds as well as layout of the immediate environs and installation of fencing, so as to facilitate visitation of the monument by the general public.