Ι. Ν. ΖΩΟΔΟΧΟΥ ΠΗΓΗΣ
church of the Life Giving Spring
67 Academias St., Downtown
At the intersection of Academias and Gennadiou streets, at the center of Athens, is the church of Zoodochos Pigi (Life Giving Spring), one of the first to be erected in the area of Neapolis, which was shaped gradually in the 19th century. The church celebrates the day of Zoodochos Pigi (the Life-Giving Spring) on the Friday following Easter Sunday. The church is the closest to the Athens University, the National Library and the Academy of Athens, the trilogy of beautiful historical buildings in the center of Athens.
Initially the initiative for its construction was taken by the people living in the area, mainly refugees and craftsmen from the islands and other hard working people, who had settled on the edge of the city. In 1843 efforts started for finding the necessary money through fund raises, with the participation of King Othon and Queen Amalia.
However, the solution was given two years later by the renowned scholar and teacher of the 19th century, Georgios Gennadius, who granted the lot for the construction of the church. He lived just opposite the church, between Charilaou Trikoupi and Zoodochos Pigi streets. The construction of the church began in 1846 following the plans of the architect Dimitrios Zezos, who is considered one of the most important among the ones who introduced the so-called “Greek-Byzantine” architectural style. The church belongs to the type of three-aisle basilica, while its steeple was added later, in the end of the 19th century. The construction of the church was completed in March 1852 with the contribution of various people through their donations, but the exact date of its inauguration is not known. In 1900 the bell tower was completed and by 1935 the administrative building was finished. In 1950 the church was expanded. Another aisle was added in the south, with a gynaeconitis and a basement.
The decoration includes frescoes of a renaissance style, icons by P. Geralis and N. Nikolaou and byzantine-style additions by Sp. Kardamakis. Several murals were made in two stages: the first ones, made until 1880, are works of unknown artists, and the more recent ones, in the period 1931-1933 made by the painter Anastasios Loukidis.
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