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Agii Anargyri Kolokinthi


Churches in Athens

Agii Anargyri Kolokinthi
(Healing Saints)

The Church of Saints Anargyri (Healing Saints) Kolokinthi is situated on Erechteos street in Anafiotika. It is known as the Monastery Dependency (metochion or parish) of the Holy Sepulcher since it belongs to the Patriarchate of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. The church is typical of the style that developed exclusively in Athens during the Ottoman rule. It is a part of an alley where the premises of the Exarchate in Athens are situated, together with a number of remaining cells from a former monastic building.

The Church of Saints Anargyri was built ca. 1600. It was built on the Palaiologos family burial site but funded by the Kolokinthis family. The priest Dimitrios Kolokinthis turned the church into a monastery in 1651 and left his whole estate to it. It was a women’s monastery until 1700, next a men’s monastery until the mid-18th century when it came under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

In 1858 it was renovated and decorated with mural paintings while in 1972-73, the Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities carried out conservation work on its exterior. A number of important historical documents, also known as “anargyrian quotations”, have been found here.

Saints Anargyri is a single-naved, barrel-vaulted church with its vault and semi-domes ending in squinches. The church’s porch and tribune were added during its renovation. The type of roofing encountered here was influenced by the Islamic public buildings of the era. The corners are made of large marble or stone blocks that were parts of older buildings while the masonry with small, plain stones is typical of the period.

There are stoned arches over the windows while at the top of the walls there is a dented cornice. One can also see traces of the brick decoration around the church’s earlier entrance alongside the contemporary one. The church’s interior decoration is more recent. The wall paintings show western influences and are surrounded by classical plaster decorations. The wooden screen is neoclassical with artistic elements from Ottoman era as is the marble bell tower. According to the inscriptions underneath the entrance cornice, the church took its present form following its 1858 renovations. They were founded by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

The church of Saints Anargyri is one of the best known in Athens particularly because of its close association with the Easter religious celebrations: this is where the Holy Light from Jerusalem first arrives on the night of Saturday before Easter Sunday and on Good Friday the epitaph is taken from the church in a procession around the small streets of the area.

Location map Erechteos street - Anafiotika
Nearest metro staton Monastiraki – Acropoli
For typical words, please consult our Greek glossary. Top of the page


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