Agios Athanasios


Christian monument
19th century

The church of Agios Athanasios is located at the centre of the town, southeast of the church of Acheiropoihtos, at the junction of Egnatia with Socrates Street. As it is testified by the inscription above the southern entrance of the building, the temple was built in 1818. This is a three-naved wooden-roofed basiliva with azenana, an architectural type widespread in Macedonia during the Turkish occupation and particularly in the 19th century. The exterior side of the wall on the west side of the building is very elaborate, with carved stones alternating with brick walls; the walls of the north and south side of the monument are built of irregular stones, including inserted wooden frames. Inside the church the zenana is U-shaped, in other words it is partially extended at the side naves and along the north side there is attached the called makrynariki, a separate elongated hall, which is mostly found in monasteries. The wooden roof of the building is decorated with various geometric shapes, while at its center there is shaped a large wooden-carved navel. The original painted temple has been removed and replaced with a new wooden temple, in which have been adapted old icons dated back to 16th, 18th and 19th century.
The church of Agios Athanasios was built on the place of an earlier church, which was destroyed by a fire in 1817. In the same area, although not verified, there may have been the known from historical sources of the 14th century "Metochion" of Agios Athanasios of Thessaloniki. In 1569, the church with its whole property was bought by the bishop of Veroia Theophanes Malakis and was dedicated to the monastery of Vlatadon. During the Ottoman occupation, arose disputes and controversies between the metropolis of Thessaloniki and the Monastery of Vlatadon about the ownership of the church, while the parish of Agios Athanasios was one of the largest and wealthiest neighborhoods.