Zoödochos Pighi Church – Mother Mary’s Church on the Port of Piraeus

Zoodochos Pighi Church

The Name and the Meaning

Zoödochos Pigh, always designating Mother Mary, means “life giving spring”, referring to Mother Mary’s interventions when her help is needed and prayed for.

Legend has it that almost 1600 years ago a poor, blind man was drifting around, helpless and desperate. Nobody would help him until a passerby stopped and offered to help. “Please”, said the blind man, “I haven’t drunk any water in days. Please, all I want is some water”.

The passerby took the blind by the hand and headed for the woods to find a water spring. But there was none. Then the passerby heard a mysterious, woman’s voice telling him: “Keep walking. Don’t lose hope. You ‘ll find the spring”. And so he did. Then again, the woman’s voice was heard: “Wash the blind man’s eyes with the water. Once you have done that, you’ll find out who I am”. The passerby did as he was told and all of a sudden the blind man recovered his sight. The passerby realized that all this was a Mother Mary’s miracle who had revealed her life giving spring to him. The passerby was none other than the man who, some years later, would become a Byzantine Emperor, Leo V (457-474). Leo V had the first Zoödochos Pigh Church built in Constantinople.

The Church

Zoodochos Pighi ChurchUpon entering the port of Piraeus, the visitor can see Zoödochos Pigh Church dominating the right side of the port.

The need for a new parish in the area of Hatzikiriakio emerged following the swift increase in the number of Hatzikiriakio inhabitants as waves of Greek refuges came to Piraeus after the Asia Minor Catastrophe (1922). The new comers aspired for a church dedicated to Zoödochos Pigh, echoing the church of the same name back in Constantinople.

The very first Zoödochos Pigh Church was nothing more than a wooden shanty. With the authorities not granting the permission for the erection of a church, the residents of Hatzikiriakio would try to build a part of the church at night, only to find it pulled down by the police the next morning.

Finally the permission was granted and the works for the construction of the church begun. However, during the bombardment of Piraeus by the Germans in 1941, the church – still under construction – was severely damaged. In the late 1950’s Zoödochos Pigh Church was repaired and completed.

With its majestic bell tower and the clock erecting in the churchyard, Zoödochos Pigh Church oversees the Port of Piraeus, offering the visitor a panoramic view of the port coastline.

More than often many young couples choose to get married in Zoödochos Pigh Church as it is one of the most scenic churches in Piraeus, offering the perfect photo shooting spot.

Zoödochos Pighi Church – Mother Mary’s Church on the Port of Piraeus
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