Athens Archbishop Asks for Simultaneous Restoration of Fethiye Mosque and Panagia Church

The Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos sent a letter to the Minister of Culture; Aristides Baltas, asking for the simultaneous restoration of Fethiye Mosque and the Church of Panagia in the Monastiraki area.

The Fethiye Mosque was built on top of the ruins of the Christian church of Panagia circa 1456-1458 and it is located on the northern side of the ancient Roman Agora in Athens, beneath the Acropolis Hill. The Christian church was converted into a mosque in 1456/58, soon after the Ottoman conquest of the Duchy of Athens, to coincide with the visit to the city by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror in 1458.

The Greek Ministry of Culture decided in 2010 to restore it and open it to the public. The decision was sanctioned by Greece’s Central Archaeological Council in 2013, paving the way for its restoration as a public space for cultural events.

In the letter, the Archbishop claims that the Panagia Church was essentially the first Christian church of Athens since it was built circa the 8th or 9th century. He asks the culture minister that the “beautiful Panagia church be restored and maintained in a proper scientific manner” and “showcase appropriately the mosque, tied as two cultures and two histories.”