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Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens was built in 1862 and is dedicated to the annunciation of the blessed virgin Mary. Soon after the greek war for independence in 1821, a civil war between the greeks broke. So the bavarian prince Otto was invited and he ascended to the throne of the modern Greece in 1832. In 1833 the capital city of Greece moved from Nafplio  to the very historical Athens. Athens was just a town with four thousands inhabitants who spoke mostly the arvanitic language. The king Otto ordered two great buildings, in order to upgrade the newly formed capital city. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens and the greek palace which much later was transformed into a parliament. Their size and quality was disproportional to the size of the city and its population.

The construction of the church started in 1842 and ended in 1862. The cost was enormous. It was covered by the sell of some of the greek church’s holding and the great greek benefactor Simon Sinas. At the begging of its construction it was designed by the danish architect Theophilus Hansen who also designed the Zapeion and the greek academy in Panepistimiou street. A little later the architectural plans were changed by the french architect Francois Boulanger. It is said that tens of run down churches in Athens were demolished in order to provided construction materials for the cathedral. It is 24 meters high, 40 meters long and 20 meters wide. Inside it there two holly shrines with relics .The first of the local saint martyr Filothei. A saint who was tortured and killed by the ottomans for her christian belief. And the second of the patriarch of Constantinople Gregory V. Gregory V was three times patriach 1797-1798, 1806-1808, 1819-1821. As with all patriarchs after the siege of Constantinople was under the sultan’s orders. However secretly he was a supporter of the greek revolution against the Ottomans. And a few days after the break of the revolution on 25th March 1821, he was arrested. He was hung the easter Sunday on 10th April 1821.

Some minor damages during the 1981 earthquake weren’t repaired properly and at the earthquake of 1999 it suffered major damages. For a decade it was supported by awful  thick steel beams. The cost for its restoration was a big issue. The ministry of culture wanted the church to contribute to the repairs with its undoubtedly wealth. On the other hand the greek church insisted that it could not afford the repairs. Above the the archeological research for its restoration took many years as usual. Finally in 2009 with the economical support of the european union the works started. Unfortunately the greek economic crisis has slowed down the speed of repairs. All major ceremonies and national celebrations take place at Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens with the participation of  important figures from the political and social life.  Since the cathedral is under restorations it is somehow replaced with the saint Dionysius the Areopagite church at cosmopolitan Kolonaki district of Athens.

Agios Eleftherios church.

Agios Eleftherios church also know as Virgin Mary Gorgoepikoos church or small metropolitan church is a byzantine church and was built at the end of the 12th century. For its construction, material from ancient greek and roman ruins were used. These ancient pieces are very visible. This practice was very popular the marbles of greek and ancient monument were recycled. The were used into new buildings or they were put into furnaces, they were melted and produced quicklime which was very useful at plastering. Especially during the ottoman era, the respect and understating of ancient greek and roman culture was minimal.

The church probably was built on the ruins of an ancient greek temple dedicated to Eileithyia. Eileithyia is a lesser know goddess of the childbirth. Above the entrance of the church there  is a ancient marble that depicts a woman who is said to be Eileithyia. During the passage from mythology to christianity many temples in prime places were transformed into churches.


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