Historic Temples

Coordinates: 40.637856, 22.956001

Church of Agios Nikolaos Orphanos

The church of Agios Nikolaos Orphanos is located at the district of Ano Poli Thessaloniki, near the eastern walls, between the streets Apostolou Pavlou and Irodotou. It used to be the catholicon of a Monastery, from which a small part of the entrance of the propylon. 

We encounter the name Agios Nikolaos Orphanos in two patriarchal documents, in 1635 and 1638, of the Monastery Vlatadon, which was its metochi already from the period of the Turkish Occupation, and to historical sources of 1745.

The origin of the name has intrigued a lot of researchers. For some the name Agios Nikolaos Orphanos is related to the name of the founder of the church which belonged to the family of Orphanos. But it is also related to Saint Nicholas, who showed great care for widows and orphans (Orfanos meaning orphan).

The present day view accepts as the founder of the church the Serbian king Milutin, who had developed intense building activity in Thessaloniki. To this view lead us wall paintings in the church with Agios Georgios Gorgos and Clement of Ochrid, saints that were specially honored in Serbia. The close relations of Milutin with Thessaloniki is due to the fact that he was married to the Byzantine princess Simonis, daughter of empress Irene Palaiologina, who lived in the city.

Nowadays, the church has the form of an oblong, wooden-roofed hall, which is surrounded on three sides with a portico. The portico on the east ends in two chapels.

At the interior of the church the marble screen dates from the period the church was founded, while the capitals date from the Early Christian period.

The church’s excellent wall paintings are true masterpieces and are the best preserved compared with the ones in other churches of Thessaloniki. They date from 1310-1320. Among them, apart the ones dealing with the life of Christ, of particular interest are the themes of Akathist Hymn and the lives of Agios Nikolaos and Agios Gerasimos Ioardanitis.





Holy Metropolis: 

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Thessaloniki

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