Photo: Detail, Agios Eleutherios Gorgoepikoos, Athens. Credit: Christoph Ziegler
Did Michael Choniates the 12th century bishop of Athens and an ardent scholar leave us a message on the church he commissioned?
Agios Eleutherios (Saint Liberator) also named Panagia Gorgoepikoos (for Madonna who answers your prayers fast or as some scholars claim for Queen Gorgo/Medusa, another mythical creature) is located next to the Cathedral in down town Athens.
On the same spot ancient Athenians venerated the protector of pregnant women and infants Eilithyia, a female deity pre-existing the Olympian gods.
We still wish pregnant women in Greece to „be liberated!“ – to deliver without pains. St. Eleutherios plays the same role in the Christian pantheon nowadays…
The church is build in the Byzantine Cross Athenian style and consists of marble reliefs and other construction elements taken from the surrounding pagan temples.
The church is 5 minutes on foot from the ancient Greek Agora and the Roman Forum of Athens.
One could write a novel on whether and why did the bishop or his advisors chose these particular elements.
Was it a random choice?
On the southern side of the church, we see a relief with symbols to be immediately understood by the Eleusinian mysteries initiates:
the poppy seed, the torch, the holy vessel Kernos, the sacrificial bull adorned with a garland and much more…
Open your eyes! Look around you! Reflect on the message! Be an initiate!
#Initiation2018/Kallichoron at Munich Jewellery Week