Church of Hagios Athanasios, view from N-W. (Photograph by I. Liakoura)

Athanasios, Hagios, Paiania

Area: Paiania
Type: Timber - Roofed, Three - Aisled Basilica
Date: Phases


The church is situated in the eastern side of the village. It is a timber-roofed, three-aisled basilica. Apart from the extensive use of older architectural fragments, what makes the church stand out are its phases. It is built on the remnants of a big early Christian basilica. However, nowadays more recent wall paintings are only preserved. These wall paintings are divided into four layers, all dated to the years of the Turkish domination. The last one is the only one visible today. The folk identity of the artist is apparent from the colors, the designs and the face expression, which are quite interesting. Nowadays, there are only two elements preserved from the old basilica. The first one is the conch of the altar and the second one the unfluted columns separating the aisles in the more recent church. The capitals of these columns are also dated to the same era. The church in its present state belongs to the post Byzantine period. Important is the discovery of an inscription written on a four-sided gravestone walled in the screen of the church. It is a tombstone deriving from an early Christian tomb. This tombstone refers to Euphemia the elder, who might have been the head of an important landowner’s service in Attica. She appears merciful while she adjures with the so-called "arai" (curses) not to bury anyone else in her grave. She also doesn’t want the remains of the already buried here to be removed. Moreover, in that position, the relics and the findings that have been occasionally traced lead us to the conclusion that a prosperous early Christian settlement existed. This settlement continued to exist not only during the 11th and the 12th century but also during the years of the Turkish domination.

Bouras Ch.-Andreadi R.-Kaloyeropoulou A., Churches of Attica, Athens 1970, p. 235, plan XXV, illustration 211-227.