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The Agios Andreas Church

Churches in Athens

Agios Andreas
(Saint Andrew)
The Monastery of Saint Filothei

The small church of Saint Andrew is on Agias Filotheis street near the cathedral of Athens, in an area that is crowded with shops selling religious artifacts. Ca. 1550, during the Ottoman rule, the Athenian nun Philothei whose family name was Regoula or Rigoula Venizelou, founded a women’s monastery in this area. There once was an early-Christian basilica here.

The monastery housed a hostel and a hospital where the nuns looked after people regardless of their religious background as well as a girls’ school. The monastery’s katholikon (main church), a three-aisled basilica dedicated to Saint Andrew, was demolished in 1890 together with the rest of the monastery in order to build the Archbishop’s offices. A crypt was built from the remains of the early-Christian basilica.

Saint Filothei of Athens

Filothei Regoula or Rigoula Venizelou was born in Athens in 1522. She came from an aristocratic family. Her father, Angelos Venizelos, belonged to a well-known Athenian family and her mother was born to the Palaiologos family.Saint Philotei

When Rigoula was still in her teens, she married Andreas Cheilas and she became a nurse. Soon after, however, she was widowed and became a nun taking on the name Filothei. Her charitable work, her support for the Christian women in the Acropolis’ harem and her preaching, angered the Ottoman authorities. She was arrested, tortured and she died a martyr on 19 February 1589 which now is the date of her commemoration on the Orthodox religious calendar.

Her relics are kept in the Cathedral of Athens and she is the patron saint of Filothei, the wealthy suburb that was named after her.

Location map Saint Filotheis street
Nearest metro station Monastiraki – Syntagma
For typical words, please consult our Greek glossary.
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