The Cathedral of the Annunciation is called Great Metropolis by the Greeks.
Located in the Plaka district, just below the Acropolis, today it is the largest church in Athens and the seat of the Archbishop of Greece.
Important political ceremonies, as well as weddings and funerals are held here. The then Princess Sophia of Greece married the Spanish heir to the throne and later King Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon on May 14, 1962 in the cathedral.
Here is all the important information about the Cathedral of the Annunciation, including its history and address.
What Can I Do at the Cathedral of the Annunciation?
Great Metropolis Church
The Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation or Great Metropolis Church features two bell towers and an impressive dome. It dominates the Metropolis Square of the same name, which it also gave its name to. Today it is the main church in Athens and also serves as the archbishop's seat.
Inside there are numerous frescoes, and the impressive icon wall dates from 1825.
The Cathedral houses the shrines of two deceased martyrs for the liberty of Greece, Saint Philothea, who died in 1589 and Patriarch Gregory V, who died in 1821.
Small Metropolis Church
Right next to the large church is the Small Metropolis Church. Measuring just seven by eleven meters, it is one of the smallest churches in Athens, but is also considered one of the oldest and most beautiful.
It was built on an old temple in the 12th century and was mainly used for intercessions by pregnant women. Before the Great Metropolis Church was built, it was even a bishop's church.
Around Metropolis Square there are many shops selling religious objects such as candlesticks and icons of every size and variety.
If you want, you can take a look at one of the small workshops.
Monument in honor of Archbishop Damaskinos
On the large square in front of the church there is a monument commemorating Archbishop Damaskinos, who set up an aid organization to prevent the deportation of Jews during the German occupation.
Admission, Tickets and Guided Tours
The Cathedral of the Annunciation is open all year round.
- Tickets: No tickets are required.
- Guided Tours: There are no guided tours.
- Admission: There is no entrance fee to visit the church.
How Do I Get to the Cathedral of the Annunciation?
The Cathedral of the Annunciation or Great Metropolis is located between the Acropolis and Syntagma Squares in Metropolis Square with the same name.
It is easy to reach with the red metro line 2 and the blue line 3, Syntagma station. From there it is only a few minutes' walk.
If you don't want to walk, take the bus, line 025. It stops in the immediate vicinity.
History of the Cathedral of the Annunciation
The Cathedral of the Annunciation is the largest church in Athens and the seat of the Archbishop of Greece. The Greeks simply call the Cathedral of the Annunciation Megali Mitropoli.
After Greece's independence from the Ottoman Empire, it was commissioned by the first Greek king, Prince Otto of Bavaria. Two decades passed between the laying of the foundation stone in 1842 and its completion, until it was finally consecrated on May 21, 1862.
It was built on the exact spot where the icon of the Annunciation was found after the nun Pelagia had a vision. Since it was believed that the finding of the icon was related to the liberation of Greece from the Turks, it was of great importance. Where the icon was found is now a holy water font.
Numerous ruins were found during the construction of the cathedral. The Zoodochos Pigi church, now called Kato Naos or “Lower Church”, used to stand here.
The special thing is the building material of the church. Marble from a total of 72 destroyed churches was collected to build the imposing structure.
The mixed Romanesque-Renaissance-Byzantine architecture inside the three-nave basilica is interesting. The bell tower was made in 1958 by the sculptor Giannis Filippotis along with the architect Anastasios Orlando.
The cathedral has been a listed as a historical monument since 1962. After being severely damaged in the 1999 earthquake, it was then extensively renovated.
- Address: Mitropoleos 48-50, Athina 105 56
- Public Transport: red metro line 2 and blue line 3, Syntagma station
- Opening Hours: The church is open all year round.
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