1000 Year Old Byzantine Church

The entry of King Otto of Greece in Athens and...

Image via Wikipedia

Για πολλα χρονια ψωνιζα στα μαγαζια στην Οδο Ερμου στο κεντρο της Αθηνας και περνουςα την μικρη εκκλησια, αλλα δεν ηξερα την ιστορια της. Λογο της περιεργιας μου εμαθα για το μικρο εκκλησακι.   Η εκκλησια ονομαζεται ‘Παναγια Καπνικαρεα’ και ειναι ενα απο της πιο σημαντικες Βυζαντινες εκκλησιες στην Αθηνα.

Το Βυζαντινο εκκλησακι χτιστηκε το 1050 μ.χ (!)  πανω απο τα συντηριμμια ενος αρχαιου ναου αφιερομενο ειτε στη Θεα Αθηνα η στην Θεα Δημητρα. Παραλιγο να γρεμιστει η εκκλησια μετα την επανασταση του 1821, ομως παρενεβει Ο Αρχιεπισκοπος της Αθηνας και ο Ludwig of Bavaria o πατερας του Βασιλια Οττο.  Το μωσαικο στην εισοδο τηn εφτιαξε Ο Elli Voila το 1936, και ειναι πολυ εντυπωσιακο.

For many years, I have walked passed the tiny old church pictured above. It is located in the middle of  the downtown Ermou shopping district  of Athens.   The church is always surrounded by people who like to sit on the ledge.  I have sat there many times and one day I decided to go in to light a candle.  I knew that it was an old church is but I did not know exactly how old.  Recently I decided to take photographs of the church and to do some research on it.  What I discovered surprised me the church named: ‘Panagia Kapnikarea‘ is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it is one of the most important Byzantine churches in Athens.  The church dates back to 1050 (11th century)! It was built on the ruins of an ancient temple either dedicated to the Goddess Athena or Demeter.   Panagia Kapnikarea was almost destroyed after the Greek war of Independence of 1821, but the Bishop of Athens and Ludwig of Bavaria father of King Otto intervened and the church was saved.  The mosaic at the entrance was made by Elli Voila in 1936, and it is quite beautiful up close. In addition, the Northern side of the church is dedicated to Saint Varvara.

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