Church of the Nativity of Christ,
The church of the Nativity of Christ in the neighborhood of Psyri, on Christokopidou Street, is a historic church that used to belong to the renowned family of Kopidis, near the then Jewish quarters of the city. It is said that on that exact location, an ancient temple of the Dorian order, dedicated on the goddess Athena Pallas, used to be. This may be the reason why the temple faces to the North. It is also said that a hidden crypt, decorated with frescoes exists hidden under the church. In the mid to late 1500s the church was used a community center by Agia Filothei.
Following the liberation of Greece from the Turks, and after the roof and dome of the church were renovated by celebrated architect Christian Hansen, the building housed temporarily the Supreme Court. It is said that during the inauguration ceremony attended by seven bishops, the then Queen Amalia was present, seated on a wood-carved throne where today a star with 16 spokes can be seen. The throne, decorated with a carved crown and the two-headed eagle is still kept in the sanctuary of the church.
At around 1860, the church was enlarged due to the increasing numbers of its flock. Several elements of the old church were saved and retained, as well as a number of icons, such as those depicting St. Spyridon, Agios Panteleimon, the beheading of St. John the Baptist, etc. The wall frescoes date to the end of the 19th c. to the early 20th. c
The church, which suffered extensive damage during the 1981 and 1999 earthquakes, but also from humidity, celebrates on December 26th.
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!