Agios Georgios of the Rock Ι. Ν. ΑΓΙΟΥ ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΥ ΤΩΝ ΒΡΑΧΩΝ (St. George of the Rock) Stratonos St., Acropolis perimeter
The church of Agios Georgios of the Rock.
In the Anafiotika district of Plaka, the builders who were brought over by King Othon and his Bavarian court to build Athens in the early 1840s from the small island of Anafi, built this quaint little church on a rocky spur of the Acropolis, complete with a tiny courtyard. It is best viewed from climbing up the steps on the left side of the church. The flowered courtyard and whitewashed facade give Agios Georgios a rural appeal, an illusion often enhanced by the presence of the several neighborhood cats. Since the western end is hard up against the Acropolis rock, worshipers make do with a south door which has a very attractive white-washed marble lintel, no doubt a remnant from an earlier 17th c. church.
Agios Georgios is a single-naved barrel-vaulted, little church situated directly under the flag that flies on the Acropolis. There is nothing all that remarkable to see inside. The church is under the aegis of the church of Agios Nikolaos Rangavas, and operates only on the name-day of the church and on special occasions.
Saint Georgios, the holy, glorious and right-victorious Great-martyr and Trophy-bearer, was a Christian Roman soldier killed under emperor Diocletian at the beginning of the fourth century. The Orthodox Church commemorates George on April 23. According to tradition, George was born to a Christian family during the late 3rd c. His father was from Cappadocia and served as an officer of the army, while his mother was from Palestine. She returned to her native city as a widow along with her young son after the martyrdom of George's father, where she provided him with a respectable education and raised him in piety. Georgios followed his father's example in joining the army soon after his coming of age. He proved to be a charismatic soldier and consequently rose quickly through the military ranks of the time. By his late twenties he had gained the rank of tribunus (tribune) and later comes (count). By that time George had been stationed in Nicomedia as a member of the personal guard attached to the emperor Diocletian (reign 284–305). It is believed that George was ordered to take part in the persecution but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and criticized the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian proceeded in ordering the torture of this apparent traitor and his execution. Following torture, George was executed by decapitation in front of Nicomedia's defensive wall on April 23, 303. George's body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honor George as a martyr.