St. Nile Church – The Only Saint Nile Parish in Greece

Saint Nile Church

The Church

St. Nile Church, located in the neighborhood of Hatzikyriakio in Piraeus, on the plot surrounded by the streets Theotoki, Herodotou, Antoniou Theohari and Sp.Trikoupi, is one of the three churches in Greece – and the first to be built-dedicated to Saint Nile the Myrrh-gusher. It is also the only parish of Saint Nile in Greece.

In 1928, following the initiative of Heleni Mamai who lived in Piraeus but was from Kinouria, a region in Peloponnisos, birthplace of Saint Nile, a small church dedicated to Saint Nile was built.

Originally operating as a private church, St. Nile Church became a parish of Piraeus in 1932. In 1956 the original small wooden church was expanded and turned into the majestic byzantine rhythm church we can see today.

The Saint

Saint Nile, whose name was Nikolaos Terzakis, is a relatively unknown saint. He was born in a village in Kinouria in the 16th century. In 1601 he joined the Mother Mary Monastery in Malevi, Peloponnisos, where he was given the name Nile.

Later on he went to the Holy Mountain (Athos Mountain) monasteries. He lived and died in St. Peter’s Cave, in 1651.

Upon the discovery of his bones in the cave, a strong scent of myrrh was coming out of the cave, reason why he was pronounced a saint, known as Saint Nile the Myrrh-gusher.

Today, part of his holy bones is on display in the church.

The Neighborhood

Hatzikyriakio, one of the best known neighborhoods in Piraeus, was named after Ioannis Hatzikyriakos, a great Greek benefactor who, along with his wife Marika Hatzikyriakos, founded the Hatzikyriakio Orphanage for Girls at the beginning of the 20th century.

Originally inhabited by Greek refugees who came to Piraeus following the Asia Minor Catastrophe in 1922, Hatzykiriakio along with Saint Nile area are featured in a very popular rebetiko song “Hatzikyriakio” or else “Apo vradis xekinisa” (I set off at night), written by a great rebetiko composer, Bayanteras (Dimitris Gogos).

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