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The Panagia Pantanassa church on Monastiraki Square

Churches in Athens

Panagia Pantanassa
(Virgin Mary Queen of all)

The very well preserved paintings on the barrel-vaulted ceilingThe church of Saint Mary Pantanassa is in Monastiraki square between Athinas street and Mitropoleos street opposite the Monastiraki metro station. The church used to be known as the Great Monastery and later as Monastiraki (the little monastery). This is the origin of the name of the whole area.

Excavations for the new metro station uncovered remains of a floor mosaic from the 5the century as well as remains of houses from that period. The original church was probably built on the site in the 11th century. The contemporary church dates back to the 17the century and is the best preserved of the three aisled barrel-vaulted basilicas that were modeled on the church of Saint Dionysios Areopagite.

Another view on the ceiling and side wall paintingsThe central aisle is raised higher than the others and is covered by a barrel vault whereas the side aisles are covered by cross vaults. According to a patriarchal sigillion (an official document confirmed by a seal) of 1678, the Church of the Pantanassa was formerly the metochion of the Monastery of Kaissariani on Hymittos mountain. It was founded by Nikolaos Bonefazis (Bonefaccio) and it was a women’s monastery. Later on the church developed into the Great Monastery and the textiles produced there were sold on the nearby market.The perfectly restored paintings of the aisle and arches

During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was one of the most important parish churches in Athens. Towards the end of the 19th century, with archaeological excavations and the construction of the nearby metro station, the church lost most of its monastic buildings and was down-graded to a “monasteraki”.

The church underwent repairs in 1911 and its western façade was altered. The tall bell tower was also added at this time. At present, extensive conservation and repair work is being carried out both outside and in the interior of the church.

Location map Monastiraki Square
Nearest metro station Monastiraki
For typical words, please consult our Greek glossary Top of the page


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