Holy Church of the Archangels – Athens, Greece - Atlas Obscura

Holy Church of the Archangels

This small chapel holds the mummified heart of one of the heroes of the Greek Revolution. 


Inside this humble chapel, which is the only building left of the former Queen Amalia Orphanage for Girls, visitors can see the mummified heart of Alexandros Ypsilandis, a leader of the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Ypsilandis died in exile and imprisonment in Austria and before his death, asked that his heart be returned to Greece. His mummified heart, along with that of his brother, Dimitrios, was sent to Athens in 1843, and eventually landed at the Holy Church of the Archangels where it can be seen today, exposed in a glass display.

The existence of the relics was kept secret for decades, partly because mummification of body parts is not a usual practice in the Orthodox tradition, and partly at the request of Dimitrios’ widow, Maria, a prominent and wealthy upper class Athenian of the time. The heart relics were finally discovered and put on display in 1894. 

Know Before You Go

This site is a church, not a museum, so it may be visited during mass hours.

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