Historic Temples

Coordinates: 37.975185, 23.725318

Church of Agios Elissaios

At 14 Areos street, near Monastiraki and opposite Hadrian’s Library is the small church of Agios Elissaios, which has been related to some of the most important Greek men of letters.

The small church was constructed during the Turkish occupation, in the middle of the 17th century. It belonged to the Athenian family of Chomatianos-Logothetis and was located in the garden of its mansion, whose ruins can be seen right next to it. It was a private church but accessible to the wide public. In the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century it became known for the all-night vigils that took place with the participation of some of the most important men of that period: Alexandros Papadiamantis, one of the most important Greek literary figures, chanted with his cousin Alexandros Moraitidis, the later saint Nikolaos Planas was responsible for the service, while there are testimonies for the presence of, among others, the authors Zacharias PapantoniouPavlos Nirvanas and Giannis Vlachogiannis and of Agios Nectarios of Pentapolis. In 1943-1944, the owner of the area at that time, who incidentally was the last one, demolished a significant part of the church, in spite of the reactions from archaeologists and architects, and thus only the foundation and part of the southern wall remained. Later, the property was expropriated by the Ministry of Culture and in 2004 the building was largely restored.

The form of the church until the 19th century is known from descriptions and drawings of travellers. It was small in dimensions (its capacity was no more than 50-60 people) and was a simple one aisled, wooden roofed basilica. Its masonry was simple, with walled-in ancient and Byzantine reliefs, while it had a remarkable painting decoration, which was destroyed and replaced in 1921 by lower quality wall paintings. Nowadays from the original form of the church only the floor, the Altar, the marble threshold and the fragments of the murals are preserved. The sculptures that were here have been transferred to Hadrian’s Library, while some of them have been used again, for example the marble pediment with the cross over the altar’s arch. 



middle of the 17th century


Holy Metropolis: 
Archdiocese of Athens

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Athens

Areos 14, Monastiraki 10555

Metro Monastiraki Station

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