The Catholic Church of St. Paul in Piraeus

Saint Paul Church

The Catholic Church of St. Paul, located in Notara Street, right opposite the Hellenic-French School “Jeanne d’ Arc”, was built in 1839.

The swift growth of the Port of Piraeus in the mid 1830’s resulted in the increase in the number of Catholics living in Piraeus and consequently the need for a place of worship for the Catholics emerged. Till then, on Sundays and Feast days, the Catholics of Piraeus attended the Mass in a chapel built on the premises of Frederikos Marketis’ ( rich tradesman and naval agent) mansion. In 1837, Rev. Comnstantine Sargologos, Vicar General of the Parish of Athens, foresees that Piraeus is meant to become Greece’s greatest port and highlights the need to build a catholic church in Piraeus, idea particularly liked by Prokesch Osten, ambassador of Austria in Athens. The proposal made by the Vicar of Athens was immediately accepted and presented to the Administrative Council, in a meeting on March 5, 1837.

The architect Eduardo Schaubert was commissioned to designing the edifice of the Catholic Church of St. Paul, with the starting funds having been raised after the Austrian Ambassador’s initiative, which explains why the Imperial Austrian Coat of Arms prevails at the entrance of the church. The construction of the church was completed in December 1839 and the Inaugural Mass was celebrated on New Year’s Day in 1840.

The Catholic Church of St. Paul, which is a rectangular building, in is initial form (19,35 meters long and 9,20 meters wide), was much smaller than the current structure (24 meters long, 21 meters wide and 8,5 meters tall), result of the 1971 enlargement, when two side aisles, measuring 5 meters each, were added to the central nave of the church. The façade of the church was formed in 1896. A block of rectangular stones supports 4 circular columns placed on marble bases. The column capitals are of the Corinthian Order and a triangular pediment is formed by the architrave and the frieze. On the two outer corners of the façade there are two bell towers.

Today the Mass of Sunday is performed in Greek, English and Spanish, at three different times. The Catholic Church of St. Paul, closely associated with the creation of the Hellenic-French School of Jeanne d’ Arc and the Hellenic-French School of St. Paul, two of the oldest and most renown private schools in Piraeus, is probably one of the first symbols of Piraeus multinational and multicultural profile.

The Catholic Church of St. Paul in Piraeus
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