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The Agios Ioannis Theologos church in Athens

Churches in Athens

Agios Ioannis Theologos
(Saint John the Theologian)

The church of Saint John the Theologian is at the junction of the Erechteos and Erotokritou streets under the northern side of the Acropolis. The church has been maintained in a good condition without any significant alterations. There are no known sources referring to the church’s history. However, it can be dated from the late 11th or early 12th century based on its architectural style. This dating has been verified by a copper coin from the reign of Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118) that was found on the roof of the church while it was being restored.

The church is of the two-columned, cross-in-square type with a dome and narthex. The eight-sided, small and elegant dome with the marble colonettes (small columns) on the edges of its sides, the so-called Athenian dome, is also characteristic of the medieval monuments of Athens.

With the exception of the southern side, the church’s exterior masonry follows the cloisonné style i.e. the use of sculpted stones surrounded by Saint Johnbricks. The contrast between the white stone and the reddish bricks, create a particular color effect which is characteristic of the Byzantine monuments of that time. The dome is internally supported by the walls of the sanctuary and two columns with Roman capitals. During the Byzantine era, the second use of older architectural parts was quite frequent.

The church’s interior painted decorations were uncovered during restoration works. Despite their provincial character, the mural paintings are particularly important as very few samples of Byzantine painting have been preserved in the churches of Athens.

On the dome there is a depiction of Christ Pantocrator (all-sovereign) and above the sanctuary there is one of the Ascension. On the northern compartment of the sanctuary, you’ll find one of a saint wearing armor on horseback, possibly Saint George. Particularly important on that painting, is the realistic representation of the horse, the details on the saint’s clothing and the overall monumental character of the scene.

The mural paintings are stylistically similar to those of a number of monuments that date from the first half of the 13th century and have been crafted, according to experts, by a local atelier which allows their dating to the same period.

Location map Erechteos and Erotokritou streets in Anafiotika
Nearest metro station Monastiraki - Acropoli
For typical words, please consult our Greek glossary. Top of the page


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