Church of Saint Panteleimon of Acharnai in Athens
The impressive church of Agios Panteleimon of Acharnai is the biggest church in Greece as well as one of the biggest ones in the Balkans. The church is located north of Victoria Square, along the busy Acharnon street from which it has taken its title.
The church was built upon the location of a former smaller temple dedicated also to Agios Panteleimon. Founded in 1910 by King George I, it was inaugurated in 1920 while the resurgence operations paused during the World Wars and were completed in the early 1980s. The designs were originally undertaken by architect Ioannis Papadakis while Georgios Nomikos carried on with their completion; it should also be noted that this church is of the first edifices where concrete was used as the building material.
Architecturally, Agios Panteleimon is a characteristic Orthodox basilica that dazzles the visitor with its enormity. The most impressive feature of the temple is the imposing, vast dome; reportedly close to the perimeter of that of Agia Sofia in Istanbul, it takes up an extent of almost 1600 square meters. The illustrations of the interior are works of the famous Greek painter Giannis Karouzos, who begun the decoration process in 1984.
Besides being a monument of major religious and architectural significance, the church of Agios Panteleimon stands out due to the active presence of the clergy, with a frequent organization of seminars on Byzantine music and traditional organs that promote the celebration of the Orthodox cultural heritage.