The church of the Panayia (Virgin) Chalkeon was erected by Christophoros, a Byzantine official, 'protospatharios' and 'katepano' (civil and military governor) of Longobardia. According to the marble inscription above the west entrance, it was built in 1028 in the vicinity of the coppersmiths' workshops.
The monument is important both for its architecture and for its paintings which, dating to 1030/40, are contemporary with the building. In view of the standing of the founder, both the building and the decoration must reflect the artistic movements current in Constantinople at that time.
The church is an example of the elaborated design of a cross-in-square, four-column church which forms an evident cross in its superstructure, the result of the search that began in the 9th century for a new design for buildings of worship.
The painting reveals the esoteric relationship between representative art and architecture. The iconographic programme is rather innovative (e.g. The Second Coming in the narthex), while the wall-paintings, executed in a spare and unaffected manner in which abstraction plays an obvious part, are the earliest works of art in the Greek world executed during the Macedonian dynasty.