NileGuide Expert Says:
One of the most important churches to visit in Athens.
NileGuide Expert tip:
The passage up to the church is full of steps and uneven pavement. Be careful and wear good shoes. Should you get to visit the church men and women should have their legs and shoulders covered.
This humble, ruinous church is the location of one of the most significant ceremonies of the Easter season. After the Orthodox Patriarch breaks the seal of the door of Christ's tomb in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
, Jerusalem, he emerges with a holy light which is flown via Olympic Air back to Athens. A cavalcade drives the priests accompanying the light straight into the city center and up the winding streets of Plaka directly to this church. The flame is walked around the church, the priests singing the victorious hymn "Christos Anesti', Christ has risen; then the flame is distributed throughout the rest of the city and the rest of Greece. It is one of the most touching sights Athens has to offer, the sight of the faithful carrying their lit candles down the hills of the city and all the way to their homes where it's considered lucky as it passes the threshold.
The church is immediately seen descending from the area of Anafiotika. It's a gamble on whether the church will be open for visiting other times of the year as hours are sporadic save for Sunday, but certainly arriving around 7pm on the Saturday prior to Easter is an experience you'll never forget.