Little Mitropolis or Panaghia Gorgoepikoos
Little Mitropolis

<Location> Od. Ermou, Athens, Attika, Greece
<Also Known As> Former Cathedral, Panagia Gorgoepikoos, Mikri Mitropolis, Agios Eleftherios

Athens' former cathedral situated south side of the present cathedral. It was built at the end of the 12th century or the beginnings of the next. Ancient and Earlier Byzantine materials are profusely reused.

This is the church seen from the south.

It has inscribed-cross plan, and two inner columns support the dome.

According to the tradition, the church was first founded by Byzantine Empress Eirene around 787. Some pieces of the sculpture probaly came from the earlier church.

Below is the same side of the church shot from closer range.

South side

"Panagia Gorgoepikoos" means "All-saint (Mary) who answers quickly to prayers". After the expulsion of the King Otho, it got a new name, "Agios Eleftherios" from "Eleftheria" meaning "Freedom".


The relief reused above the west door is the Attic State Festive Calender Friese of the 2nd of 3rd century CE (See above; just above the relief with the early Byzantine griffins and birds). Each festivity is represented with symbolic figures. The Panathenaic festival was represented with the ship carrying Athena's robe, but it was cancelled by one of the Maltese Crosses added later.

Below is the close-up of a part of the friese.

Attica Festive Calender

Right is one of the reused byzantine reliefs on the façade (western side). Four lion-like animals with human head (two also with wings) are engraved.

Byzantine sculpted relief
Left and below are the reliefs used on the northern side. On the relief below, the old man and the crosses were sculpted in a different epoque.

Cross with an Old Man


• Paul Hetherington, Byzantine and Medieval Greece, London/ John Murray 1991, pp. 72-73.
• Robin Barbar, Greece (Blue Guide), London- N.Y. 2001 (Revised reprint of the 6th edition of 1995), p. 97.
• Christopher Mee & Antony Spawforth, Greece: An Oxford Archaeological Guide. Oxford/ OUP, 2001, p. 76.
• Robin Barber, City Guide: Athens, London/ A&C Black, 2002, pp. 146-47.

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