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I am visiting Athens for first time #397620 08/03/13 06:43 PM
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Wheelbarrow Offline OP
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Hello, I am visiting Athens for the first time in September. I was wondering what eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches/momasteries I should visit and their addresses? Thank you and God bless.

Re: I am visiting Athens for first time [Re: Wheelbarrow] #397625 08/03/13 07:24 PM
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Alice Offline
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Hi Wheelbarrow!

That is awesome! The weather is generally beautiful in September. September is the favorite month to visit for many folks.

I don't know about Eastern Catholic but here is a monastery you should definitely visit:

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Monastery of kaisariani (Kessariani) & Mount Hymettus (Imittos)

Beautiful Kaisariani Monastery stands in a cool, bird-inhabited grove of pines and cypresses on the lower slopes of Mount Hymettus, famous for its beautiful marble and delicious honey. In fact, the 4th-century-A.D. philosopher Synesius of Cyrene tells the story that the Sophists lured students to their lectures "not by the fame of their eloquence, but by pots of honey from Hymettus." This has long been a lovely place to escape the heat of Athens, especially after most of the bees left Hymettus and no longer vexed visitors. Unfortunately, the forests were damaged in the fires of 1998. Keep in mind that the remaining pine groves here are a potential tinderbox. As always, be very careful if you smoke or use matches.

Kaisariani is 8km (5 miles) east of central Athens. The easiest way to visit is to take a taxi from Athens for about 20€ to 25€. Then, if you wish, you can return by bus, having spotted the bus stop on your way up to Kaisariani. If you want the cab to wait while you visit the monastery, negotiate a price in advance. Every 20 minutes, bus no. 224 leaves from Plateia Kaningos on Academias and from Panepistimiou and Vas. Sofias, northeast of Syntagma Square, for the suburb of Kaisariani. If the day isn't hot, the monastery's wooded site is a pleasant 2km (1-mile) walk (follow the signs) up the road; or you can take one of the cabs by the bus stop.

We suggest that you do not drive unless you want to explore Mount Hymettus, which is no longer the woodsy place fabled in antiquity, but which has become bleak after its recent fires. Kaisariani is poorly signposted so you may have trouble finding it, even with a good map.

Mount Parnitha, the most beautiful and largest national park in Athens (well known for its hiking trials, ski resort, and casino) was severely damaged during a fire that raged for days during a heat wave in June 2007. About a third of the forest (referred to as the "lungs of Athens") has either been destroyed or severely damaged.

Read more: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/athens/0044010011.html#ixzz2awuhweFT


In the heart of Plaka, the old city around the Acropolis you will find the 'Metropolis' or Cathedral of Athens. It isn't large like you might expect, but it is historic in that it was built by the King and Queen for the new country of Greece in the 1800's:


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Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens
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Façade undergoing repairs

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation (Greek: Καθεδρικός Ναός Ευαγγελισμού της Θεοτόκου) popularly known as the "Mētrópolis", is the cathedral church of the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece.

Construction of the Cathedral began on Christmas Day, 1842 with the laying of the cornerstone by King Otto and Queen Amalia.

Workers used marble from 72 demolished churches to build the Cathedral's immense walls. Three architects and 20 years later, it was complete. On May 21, 1862, the completed Cathedral was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Mother of God '(Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου)' by the King and Queen. The Cathedral is a three-aisled, domed basilica that measures 130 feet (40 m) long, 65 feet (20 m) wide, and 80 feet (24 m) high. Inside are the tombs of two saints killed by the Ottoman Turks during the Ottoman period: Saint Philothei and Patriarch Gregory V.

Saint Philothei built a convent, was martyred in 1559, and her bones are still visible in a silver reliquary. She is honored for ransoming Greek women enslaved in Ottoman Empire's harems.

Gregory V the Ethnomartyr, Patriarch of Constantinople, was hung by order of Sultan Mahmud II and his body thrown into the Bosphorus in 1821, in retaliation for the Greek uprising on March 25, leading to the Greek War of Independence. His body was rescued by Greek sailors and eventually enshrined in Athens.

To the immediate south of the Cathedral is the little Church of St. Eleftherios also called the "Little Mitropoli."

In the Square in front of the Cathedral stand two statues. The first is that of Saint Constantine XI the Ethnomartyr, the last Byzantine Emperor. The second is a statue of Archbishop Damaskinos who was Archbishop of Athens during World War II and was Regent for King George II and Prime Minister of Greece in 1946.

The Metropolitan Cathedral remains a major landmark in Athens and the site of important ceremonies with national political figures present, as well as weddings and funerals of the rich and famous.

Currently, the Cathedral is going under renovation. Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens announced at the beginning of 2009 that the Cathedral will be closed for a year due to a revamp.


A larger and more impressive church is Agios Dionysios Ariopagitis (St. Dionysios Aeropagite) in Kolonaki, the center of Athens:

http://www.athensinfoguide.com/wtschurches/agiosdionysiosareopagitis.htm

Another historic church worth seeing, and a close walk from central Syntagma square and Plaka is the Russian Orthodox church of Agia Triada (Holy Trinity):

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The Russian Church, St. Nikodemos or Aghia Triada, 21 Philellinon St.

This church is the largest remaining medieval building in Athens and was founded by Stefan Likodemou in 1030 AD. It has been damaged both by earthquake several times and rebuilt.

Under the church square, remains of Roman baths (circa 2nd Cent. AD) were found. Its detached belfry was a late 19 century addition and the gift of Tsar Alexander II. It was purchased by the Russian government 800 years after its 1st incarnation and then expanded. Inside are on display Russian embroideries and well known female religious chanters practice here often.


click here to see photos

I love the interior of this little church. It is a historic gem.

While you are walking around, you will inevitably come upon an ancient church here and there that you need to step down into. Unlike other European countries, these churches feel more like churches than tourist attractions or museums. There are candle stands in every church, from the tiniest ancient church to the largest cathedral, and the faithful always step inside to light a candle and say a prayer...

Have a great time! Don't forget your sunglasses or a baseball cap, because the sun is much stronger and brighter than anything you could ever have imagined in Ireland (or anywhere else for that matter)! wink

Alice smile











Re: I am visiting Athens for first time [Re: Wheelbarrow] #397651 08/04/13 03:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 174
Wheelbarrow Offline OP
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Thank you Alice for all the Juicy info. That Hymettus monastery is one that was not on my travel guide so I am glad you brought it up, sounds beautiful.

God bless


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