Agioi Anargyroi Metohi Tou Panagiou Tafou Ι. Ν. ΑΓΙΩΝ ΑΝΑΡΓΥΡΩΝ - ΜΕΤΟΧΙ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΝΑΓΙΟΥ ΤΑΦΟΥ Exarchate of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem Erechtheos Street, Plaka
Agioi Anargyroi, Metohi tou Panagiou Tafou.
On the northern foothills of the Acropolis, at the intersection of Erechtheos and Prytaneiou streets, is the church of Agioi Anargyroi, better known as the Metohi of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. With its picturesque courtyard and the nearby simple neoclassical building, the seat of the Exarchia of the Holy Sepulcher, is one of the most beautiful spots in Plaka, which is closely related to the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, since here is the first place that the Holy Light arrives each year from Jerusalem.
The church was constructed in the 17th century at a location where in antiquity was a temple of the goddess Aphrodite. It is constituted by the catholicon of a monastery which was founded in 1651 by the priest Dimitrios Kolokinthis, a descendant of a prominent Athenian family, who owned that piece of land. As a matter of fact, a document mentions that he gave all his fortune to the monastery. Initially it was a women’s convent and then it turned into a men’s monastery. When the Acropolis was besieged by the Italian admiral Morosini in 1687, the monastery was abandoned. In 1760 it was bought by the Exarch of the Holy Sepulcher in Athens Archimandrite Iakovos and became a Metohi of the Holy Sepulcher. Since that time, its cells have been the residence of the exarch, until 1858, when the seat of the exarchate of the Holy Sepulcher was constructed. Within the area of the monastery there were also the tombs of the Greek imperial Palaiologos family.
The templon of the church of Agioi Anargyroi, Metohi tou Panagiou Tafou.
The church is a one-aisle vaulted basilica with a porch and a gynaeconitis at the gallery. On the northern side of the roof is the steeple, erected at a later date, of white marble with intense classicist elements. Ancient architectural elements have been used in the building of its walls, while several relics of this area are at its yard, testify to its long history. Also preserved is a series of the cells of the old monastery, a well, and one of the old municipal gas lamps which lightened the streets of the city. A unique experience should you happen to be in Athens during Orthodox Easter, is the Epitaph procession on Good Friday with the devout atmosphere in the alleys and narrow streets of Plaka. Decades ago, I was fortunate to follow my teacher of theology at high-school, and good friend of mine, the poet Mathaios Mountes to the services of Good Tuesday, and it was an experience I will never forget.