The San Biagio Chapel, better known as the Orthodox Chapel, became part of the Park of Villa Reale at the beginning of the 1800s, together with the Bishop’s Villa. The chapel originally belonged to the Bishop’s Villa and may have been built at the same time.
The chapel underwent a significant transformation halfway through the 19th century, when Carlo Ludovico of Bourbon, the Duke of Lucca, decided to convert it to perform Greek Orthodox ceremonies – perhaps as a reaction against the religious fervor of his mother, Maria Luisa. He covered all the paintings in the interior of the church, removed the bishop’s coat of arms and removed every trace of Roman Catholicism.
An iconostasis with three openings was installed (in orthodox ceremonies this separated the congregation from the priests leading the services) and was painted by the Lucca artist Michele Ridolfi. Lodgings for the priests were built near the church in a style between Romanesque and gothic (they were demolished at the beginning of the 20th century).