Ι. Ν. ΑΓΙΩΝ ΑΝΑΡΓΥΡΩΝ
19, Anargyron St.,
19, Anargyron St.,
The church of Aghioi Anargyroi is a historic landmark in the area of Psyri. It was constructed in the 11th century as a cruciform church with a dome, a usual form of church at the time. However, the dome of Aghioi Anargyroi has the particular characteristic of being «diplotholikos», i.e. it has two floors. This feature is not widespread and is found in only two other churches in Greece. The fact that the church does not have a narthex indicates that it was not the catholicon of a Monastery. In 1651 the church was renovated by the priest Dimitris Kolokynthis, thus the church is also referred to as «Aghioi Anargyroi of Kolokynthi». From the original stage of the church the larger part of the dome, the three barrel-vaults of the cross and the arches of the altar still survive today.
The church of Aghioi Anargyroi was of primary importance in the life of the neighborhood during the Turkish occupation and the Greek Independence War. When the Turks returned to Athens (1826), commander Gouras placed cannons by the church to defend the city. The church was struck by the Turkish artillery, but fortunately the damage was not serious. In Stademann’s painting «Panorama of Athens» (1835), the church dominates the area.
Several heroes of the revolution from the area of Psyri, such as the chieftain Nicholaos Sarris, chieftain Panagis Ktenas, who was the first appointed commander of Athens and the archaeologist and fighter Nicholaos Pittakis are buried in the courtyard of the church. Pittakis saved the Acropolis from destruction, as the entrenched in the Acropolis Turks (1821-1822) knocked down the ancient columns to use lead links for ammunition. Pittakis persuaded the Greek warriors to reach an agreement with the Turks and supply them with the lead they needed, in order to stop the destruction of the monument. Unfortunately, the next generations did not respect, perhaps out of ignorance, the history of the church. So, in 1908 the extension of the church which took place with no respect to its architecture, resulted in its aesthetic destruction. It is worth mentioning that the Greek novelist Alexandros Papadiamandis lived in one of the cells of the church for a while, and writer Alexandros Moraitinis often came here. Legend has it that the St. Nectarios of Aegina served as a deacon here (1882-1885).
For a page with Basic Architectural Terminology, including terms used in the description of the ancient Greek temples and the Orthodox churches of Athens, click here!