The Holy Church of St. Irene
The church of St. Irene on Nikodimou Street in Plaka is also known as the Rinaki (little Irene) of Plaka due to the church’s diminutive size. Only six metres by six metres, the church is actually just one part of an older three-aisle basilica from the early Christian era.
The church now stands in the yard of the Youth Office of the Archdiocese of Athens. Its interior showcases well-preserved carvings from the 7th century, as well as frescoes from the 12th and 13th centuries. Roman baths once occupied this same site, and according to tradition, Basil the Great, Gregorios from Nazianzos, and Julian the Apostat bathed here when they were students in Athens. Later, the area featured Ottoman baths.
Demetrios Kabouroglou jokes about how students from the adjacent Girls’ High School sought refuge in the yard of the little church whenever they had difficulty in their examinations.