Panagia Chryssokastriotissa Ι. Ν. ΚΟΙΜΙΣΕΩΣ ΤΗΣ ΘΕΟΤΟΚΟΥ ΤΗΣ ΧΡΥΣΟΚΑΣΤΡΙΩΤΙΣΣΑΣ Assumption of the Virgin 9, Thrassyvoulou St., Plaka
Kimissi Theotokou Chryssokastriotissa
Dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, the church of Panagia Chryssokastriotissa, is on the northern side of the foothills of the Acropolis, in historic Plaka. It is a single-nave 17th c. church.
The origin of the name is not certain, and is attributed either to its proximity to the city defensive wall under the Acropolis (Kastro) or to the funding of its construction from a member of the Kastriotou family. However, it is more possible that after the occupation of Athens by the Franks in 1204, they transferred the icon of Panagia Athiniotissa from the Parthenon, which was converted from an Orthodox to a Catholic church. According to another legend, Kastriotissa or Chrysokastriotissa was how they called the icon itself.
Legend has it that when the Turks entered the Acropolis, women and children threw themselves down from the cliff. The miraculous icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary) saved them all and since then the church has been a refuge for women and children in peril.
The church dates from the 12th c. and is considered to have been erected over an ancient sanctuary of the goddess Hestia. It belongs to the type of one-aisle vaulted basilicabut from its initial form very few elements remain. It suffered significant damages during the centuries, both due to the war conflicts during the Greek Revolution of 1821 and during the attempt to restore it the years following the liberation. According to tradition, and in the years before the Revolution, a candle would always burn in front of the icon of Panagia, a custom that Athenians maintained even later, honoring the icon that they considered miraculous for sick infants and children. The church celebrates on August 15th, the day of the Dormition of the Virgin.