Church of the Holy Apostles: The Oldest Church in Athens

Walking through the streets of Athens, you come across buildings from bygone eras, great monuments and attractions that take you back in time and invite you to get to know their history, such as the Church of the Holy Apostles.
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Walking through the streets of Athens, you come across buildings from bygone eras, great monuments and attractions that take you back in time and invite you to get to know their history, such as the Church of the Holy Apostles.

It is possible that you have passed by very important historical and religious monuments without knowing the interesting details that make them special - not only for Athens but also for the whole of Greece.

For example, did you know which is the oldest Christian church in Athens? Possibly not - and yet you may have passed by it many times.

The Church of the Holy Apostles in the Ancient Agora is a special and great example of architecture right in the centre of Athens with a history that dates back over 1,000 years.

Built on the southeast side of the Ancient Agora it is estimated that the Church of the Holy Apostles was built sometime in the last quarter of the 10th century.

The 1,000+ years old church is the only temple preserved to this present day within the archaeological site.

With regard to the construction of the oldest church in Athens, experts say that the Church of the Holy Apostles is a mid-Byzantine temple of great historical value. It is the first temple of the so-called ‘Athenian style’. It is an important monument mainly as its design, a special and successful combination of a simple square column and a cruciform inscribed building, lays the foundation for the later development of Byzantine architecture.

The Church of the Holy Apostles suffered many disasters over the centuries, as did many religious monuments in Athens.  However, in 1877 the temple was repaired and extended westwards. In 1954 the Ministry of Culture decided to demolish all the newer building interventions and over the next two years the restoration and return to its original form of the church of the Holy Apostles was completed.

Today the church of the Holy Apostles is classified as a protected Byzantine monument.

The church is opened once every year, on the day of the assembly of the 12 Apostles, June 30.

The next time you take a walk in the centre of Athens, it is worth taking a walk past this sacred Church of the Holy Apostles.

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Copyright GreekCityTimes 2022