The church was erected in the 16th century over the ruins of an ancient temple of Hercules and it was the Metochi of the Penteli Monastery, while in the same area there was an Old Christian basilica. The name Agia Dynami refers to the Virgin Mary and was given to the church so that all pregnant Athenian women would give birth to strong children. For this reason the church’s celebration takes place of September 9th, day of the birth of Virgin Mary.
This small church belongs to the type of one-aisle vaulted basilica. Its walls are decorated with murals, depicting, among others, Agia Aikaterini, Agia Kyriaki, Agia Filothei, Agios Ierotheos, Agios Dimitrios, as well as the Beheading of St. John the Baptist. Under the floor of the sanctuary there is a large underground cave approximately 15 meters long, which continues to a tunnel, which, according to legend, used to reach all the way to the area of Kaissariani. It is in this cave that, again according to legend, during the years of Turkish occupation the priests had hidden the ecclesiastical treasures and church documents and archives which, however, were destroyed during the destructive invasion of the Turks in Athens under Omer Vryonis. Later, in 1963, a bell-tower was built over the passage to the cave prohibiting access to it. During the 1821 War of Independence from the Turks, legend says that through another tunnel which started from the cave and ended under the Acropolis rock, ammunition and necessities were being carried by the Resistance to re-enforce the Greek patriots. The church used to be surrounded by several other buildings that were demolished following the liberation, so that Metropoleos Street would be widened to serve the growing traffic needs.
The church belongs to the Holy Monastery of Assumption at Penteli in Attica, near Athens. The church was restored in 1912, while in the 1950s, the building of the Ministry of Education was erected, and the church's area was limited in its present day form. In 1963 they added the steeple over its entrance. Today, the building is completely renovated and houses the classy Electra Metropolis Hotel.
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!
The Holy Power of the Virgin, honoring Virgin Mary's Birth was established and acknowledged by the people as the power which the confined woman acquires from the icon of Virgin Mary's Birth, in order to give birth to her child, and may represent the power of the soul, a spiritual empowerment, a moral resistance of every devout and humble pilgrim.
Medieval Athens Tour
Team-up with a knowledgeable tour guide on a private tour and explore the secrets of Medieval Athens. Discover the living proofs of the mighty Byzantine Empire, visit historic churches, stroll around the streets of the old city and explore one of the most interesting and turbulent time periods of Athens.