In 1889 Ioannis Xatzikyriakos and his wife Maria, two of the greatest Piraeus’ benefactors, founded Hatzikyriakio Orphanage for Girls, today known as Hatzikyriakio Childcare Institution.
Designated as “An Art Monument and Preserved Building” by the Ministry of Culture, Hatzikyriakio Orphanage was built around a large patio and a perimeter arched portico. It is a central plan building with slight projections at its corners. There are 56 arched windows in total, with each of the building’s four façades bearing 14.
In the front yard of the building there is a chapel dedicated to St. John, probably echoing the first name of the orphanage’s founder (John: Ioannis).
An eminent building, Hatzikyriakio Orphanage soon became identified with the surrounding neighborhood which, eventually, was named after it: Hatzikyriakio, while two of the biggest streets in the area carry the names of Hatzikyriakos and his wife (Hatzikyriakou Str. and Marias Hatzikyriakou Str).
During the Balkan Wars and World War I, Hatzikyriakio Orphanage was commandeered by the Greek Army and was used as a hospital, while in 1922 the building was officially renamed “Hatzikyriakio Hospital”. Within the years 1945-1959 its premises served as refuge center. In the meantime, the orphanage was being housed within the premises of Skouloudis Mansion (Metaxas Hospital today). Hatzikyriakio Orphanage resumed its activities and returned to its original building in 1959, when it was renamed “Hatzikyriakio Childcare Institution – Hatzikyriakio Orphanage for Girls”.
After the 1999 earthquake, the building suffered serious damages and was considered as unsuitable for use, although externally it seems almost intact. Since then the Boarding Home, the Dormitories as well as the Administration Offices have been transferred in prefabricated houses situated within the yard. Repair and restoration studies were made long ago, but repair and restoration works are at a halt due to a lack of funds.
Hatzikyriakio Childcare Institution admits girls 6-year old and older, coming from disturbed family backgrounds facing serious financial and social issues. Along with accommodation, the Institution provides these girls with a well- rounded education preparing them to become responsible and self-dependent adults, with love and emotional support being the key-factors in the Institution’s mission.
Hatzikyriakio Childcare Institution received the Award of Athens Academy in 1987 and the Gold Metal of Athens Academy in 2004 in recognition of the great service it provides.
Given the financial adversity the Institution is being faced with, in search of benefactors who would donate even the smallest amount of money so that the original building be fully restored and the children have a proper place to live, these awards are the very least that the State can do for the Institution, since Hatzikyriakio Childcare Institution does and deserves much more.
Hatzikyriakio Childcare Institurion (“Hatzikyriakio Orphanage”) Trivia
Ioannis Hatzikyriakos donated all his fortune to Hatzikyriakio Orphanage. In his will he clearly stated that “no one involved in politics would interfere with the administration of the Orphanage”, with the sole exception of Tryfon Moutzopoulos, Mayor of Piraeus at the time, of whom Hatzikiriakos thought highly.