Six centuries before Christ, Athens emerged as a powerful political city-state against the Persians and quickly also became the home for the literary masterpieces of Sophocles, Aristophanes and Hippocrates to name a few. The demise of Athens occured during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC) but it continued to shine as a cultural and philosophical centre. This and other major historical events in Athens and Greece, have helped to shape the most well known personality of the Eastern Orthodox church; the Greek Orthodox church. Prior to christianity, Greek religion consisted of the worship of mythical pantheon gods and godesses (such as Athena) widespread throughout all of Greece.
The seed of Christianity was first sown in Athens when the Apostle Paul visited the Athenians in 50 AD. Three centuries later, Constantine the Great inaugerated the Byzantine Empire with the Edict of Milan, moving "Rome" to his new capital at Constantinople, allowing Christianity to be openly practiced. Athens, along with the rest of the empire, formally confirmed Christianity as the state church in 380 AD and changed forever. Pagan worship was then entirely banned from the city some twelve years after this but retained its reputation as the centre for classical learning.
During the fourth-century, Athens educated some of the most well-known Orthodox fathers including the Cappadocian Fathers (St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzes). Temples dedicated to the pagan gods were slowly converted into churches and Athens became a centre for Byzantine worship.
- See also List of Archbishops of Athens
The current Archbishop of Athens is His Beatitude Ieronymos II (Liapis), Archbishop of Athens and All Greece.
- Roman Athens
- Byzantine Period (Athens)
- Ottoman Turks Invade Greece (Athens)
- War of Independence (Athens)
- World War II (Athens)
- Post World War II (Athens)
- Military Dictatorship (Athens)
- Modern-Day Athens
Orthodox sites of pilgrimage
- Metropolis Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Monastiraki
- The 1862 Metropolis Cathedral dominates Mitropoleos Square, which is in the heart of Athens, Greece, and is the archiepiscopal Greek Orthodox church of Athens.
- The decision to move the capital of the young Greek state to Athens in 1834 made it imperative to build a large new cathedral here. Construction started in 1839 and was completed in 1863. Since that time, this building, decorated with fine murals and icons, has been Greece's most important church, used for official occasions.
- The Church of Panagia Gorgoepikoos and St. Eleutherios, Monastiraki
- Far more significant historically and archaeologically is the small 12th century church of Panagia Gorgoepikoos ("She who is Swift to Hear"). It is known as the Little Metropolis and is a cruciform-style church built from marble and using reliefs and pieces of ancient and early Christian monuments. It is also known as the church of St. Eleutherios.
- Byzantine Museum (Athens)
- Aeropagite Hill, the Agora of Athens
- Cave of Panagia Chrysospiliotissa, the Acropolis of Athens
- Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, Filopappos Hill (also nicknamed "Demetri the Bombardier")
- Church of Agia Marina (Filopappos), Filopappos Hill
- This tiny little church is often referred to as the "little Metropolis" since it is next to the Metropolis church of Athens.
- Byzantine Church of Kapnikarea
- Right in the middle of a pedestrian shopping strip of Ermou is the Byzantine church of Kapnikarea, which is dedicated to the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. It was completed in the 13th century, and is a cruciform-style domed church which now belongs to the Athens University.
- Panagia Grigoroussa, Taxiarhon and Fanouriou, Plaka
- Famous for its special blessing of the Fanouropita cake every Saturday afternoon.
- Church of the Holy Apostles of Solakis, Agora
- One of the oldest churches in Athens, built c. 1000 AD in the ancient Agora.
- Church of St. Nicholas Rangavas
- This 11th century Byzantine church was part of the palace of the Rangava family, which included Michael I, Emperor of Byzantium. The church bell was the first installed in Athens after the liberation from the Turks and was first to ring in 1833 announcing the freedom of Athens from the Turkish rule. It is now rung every March 25 and is hung inside the church.
- Agia Ekaterini
- Agios Georgios, Lykavittos Hill
- Dafni Monastery (Athens)
- Dafni Monastery is one of the most splendid Byzantine monuments in Greece. The 11th century mosaics are considered masterpieces.
- Kaisariani Monastery, Mount Hymettos
- An 11th century monastery located on the slopes of Mt. Hymmetos, this monastery was devastated by a huge earthquake in 1999 which damaged the cells of the monks and the bathhouse. In its peak, this monastery had over 300 monks.