Church of St. Mary Pantanassa
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The church of the assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary, or Pantanassa, is situated on Monastiraki square. It was formerly known as the great monastery and is a major cultural emblem of Athens. It is the most prominent cultural ornament of Monastiraki square, which is hugely popular with tourists.


The Church of Panagia Pantanassa (Church of St. Mary Pantanassa), an arched basilica, was documented for the first time in the XVII century. Its beginnings were linked to lord Nikolaos Bonefantsis, and it later became a catholic convent. The monastery spread across the current square. During its heyday, the site had advanced classes in craftsmanship and carpet-weaving and also served as a shelter for young women, who were allowed to study the arts. The monastery was credited with significant social and spiritual contributions, leading to its title of «the Great monastery».

In 1881–1885, Saint Nectarius of Pentapolis held the position of a deacon in a monastery. During the reconstruction of the new Monastiraki square at the intersection of Ermou, Athena and Mitropoleos streets, the stunning byzantine Pantanassa church was able to be kept intact. Historians suggest the edifice was created in either the 7th or 9th century. Architecturally, it is a three-nave basilica with an arched shape and asymmetrical stones, giving it the appearance that it is still being built.

After the turkish rule, the Monastiraki was referred to as Micromonastiro. Subsequently, this area is still a commercial hub. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a significant renovation was done, one of which was the addition of a stone bell tower. Furthermore, the main courtyard was torn down and replaced by a more modern square.

At the close of the XX century, a restoration effort practically brought the church back to its original condition, keeping the bell tower intact. Sadly, during the revolution of the XXI century, the church was severely damaged, and repairs were executed in 1890. Throughout this time, the bell tower bearing painted frescoes was also fixed. Nevertheless, in 1911, the old bell tower was taken down and replaced with a modern one, with a plainer appearance than the one in 1890. During this period, the murals were placed beneath the prior frescoes, and a narthex and gyneconite were also developed.


The Church of Panagia Pantanassa has safeguarded numerous significant orthodox artifacts. Its iconic depictions of St. Panteleimon (1836), Agia Thekla, an elaborately-crafted iconostasis (1840), paintings by the renowned artist and lensman Fotis Kontos-Glu, the icon of Agia Eleus, and various other priceless relics have been preserved. The 1999 earthquake in Athens caused extensive damage to the temple, yet the revival of the edifice began shortly afterwards. Panagia Pantanassa is an invaluable orthodox cultural adornment of Athens, and is thus treated with great reverence by its inhabitants.

The Church of Panagia Pantanassa can be found in the core of Athens. To reach it, one should take the metro to the «Monastiraki» station (both green and blue branches). It is just a short stroll (2–3 minutes) from the station.


  • Admission is free of charge.
  • Taking pictures and filming is not allowed in the church.