Cathedral Basilica of St. Dionysius the Areopagite

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Church of St. Dionysius the Areopagite

The Catholic Cathedral of St. Dionysius the Areopagite is at the junction of Avenue University with Homer (Omirou, or Ομήρου) Street in Athens, right next to the ornate building of the Eye Clinic of Athens. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Athens and is dedicated to Saint Dionysius the Areopagite, disciple of the Apostle Saint Paul and the first bishop of Athens.

History and construction[edit]

The church is a three-aisle basilica in the neo-Renaissance style. Plans tasked to do the famous German architect Leo von Klenze, the behest of Otto, King of Greece. During the project, the plans were modified by the Greek architect Lysandros Kaftanzoglou, who offered to direct the work of the church, until completion, without any remuneration. The land for the construction of the church was purchased in 1847 with money of Roman Catholics of Greece, while the building was built by fundraisers among Catholics of the interior and exterior. The nave was built in 1853 and the inauguration took place on 4 August 1865. The temple has inside the 38 meters length, height 15 and width 24 meters. The church's interior is decorated with beautiful frescoes. Of the most beautiful is the fresco of semi-domes of triumphal arch, representing the Apotheosis of Saint Dionysius the Areopagite (1890) and is the work of Italian painter from Rimini Guglielmo Bilan­cioni (1836-1907). The pillars, which support the triumphal arch, represented in life-size the four evangelists. In front of the triumphal arch depicted Christ Pantocrator with the Gospel in hand. In the following angles right Moses holding parchment text of the Act, left the Prophet David playing harp. Below, Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Augustine. The church floor is paved with Pentelic marble. The nave is based on 12 columns of 5 meters of green marble from Tinos. The platform of dance above the main entrance of the temple, which is also the Pipe organ, was built in 1888 by architect Paul Sambi (Paul Chambaut). Right and left of the main entrance are two inscriptions, one in Latin, the other in modern Greek, commemorating the Athenian visit of pope John Paul II in 2001. Finally, right and left of the sanctuary are two marble pulpits, donated by the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, when he visited Athens in 1869.

The stained glass windows of the church[edit]

Stained glass depiction of Otto of Bamberg

The stained glass (" stained glass ") which adorn the eight windows on both sides of the lower part of the church, was painted by the director of the royal workshops of Munich Carl de Boucher (Karl de Bouchet) and donated by King Ludwig of Bavaria. The four windows of the right aisle of the church adorn respectively stained glass of Saint Amalia, Pope Sixtus II, Pope Telesphorus, Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, and the stained glass windows of the left aisle depicting the Saint Otto, the Pope Anterus, Pope Anacletus and the Saint John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople.

Sources[edit]

  • Eugene Dalezios: "This Athens Cathedral of St. Dionysius the Areopagite," Athens, 1965.
  • Official fivelingual pamphlet Cathedral St. Dionysius the Areopagite, Athens.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°58′45″N 23°44′04″E / 37.97917°N 23.73444°E / 37.97917; 23.73444