By far the best known and most visited monument in Greece today is the Parthenon, situated in the Acropolis of Athens. Father Stefanos Alexopoulos (Ecclesiastical Academy of Athens & College Year in Athens) will give a lecture at the British School at Athens, on 5th November, entitled “When a Column Speaks. The Liturgy of the Christian Parthenon”.
The Parthenon, for most people a symbol for Athens, for Greece and for Hellenism, served as a Christian church for almost thousand years – a fact that has been neglected. It functioned as the Cathedral of the city of Athens, was known as the shrine of Panagia Atheniotissa and became a famed pilgrim destination during the Byzantine era.
In his lecture the speaker will stress that notwithstanding the Parthenon’s use as a Christian church for close to a millennium, we know close to nothing as to what sort of liturgy was celebrated within its walls. We have no written evidence, no direct or indirect witnesses as to what was going on ritually in the Christian Parthenon throughout its history.
However, one hitherto unexploited source for the liturgy of the Christian Parthenon is the corpus of Christian inscriptions on the columns of the Parhtenon which, Father Stefanos Alexopoulos will argue, give us enough evidence to establish links with the Cathedral Typikon of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, and also indicate that the Cathedral Typikon was followed and celebrated in the Christian Parthenon between the 9th and the 13th centuries.