Ragavas church and March 25th
As mentioned before, Ragavas church was built in 11th century. Modern Greek history starts with the War of Independence at 1821. Even if the Greek war of Independence started on March 17th at Areopoli, Mani area at Peloponnesus, it is officially celebrated on March 25th. So March the 25th is a unique day to be in Athens and Greece. Military parades and Orthodox celebration, with a special bakaliaros-skordalia dish served everywhere. Spring has sprung everywhere in Greece, including Athens and Plaka!
But as for Plaka, there is something more. Every March the 25t at the 11th century dated church of Agios Nikolaos Ragavas, (Prytaneiou 1), people ring the same bell that its sound marked Athens’ freedom from Ottoman occupation, back in 1833!!!!
Made in Italy, this bell was secretly kept in Athens for centuries. When the Ottoman occupation of Athens was over, the bell was uncovered and its sound was heard everywhere around Athens!!!! Nowadays, there is a special liturgy on March the 25th, and when it is over, around 10.30-11 o clock at the morning, people start to ring the bell and feel the same feeling of freedom and liberation!!!!
So before Easter, visiting Plaka includes one more event for you be there.
Christian Orthodox faith is more similar to Catholic and less to Protestant. This is why Balkan countries have so many differences from western Europe areas. But there is one more difference between Christian european countries and those which were occupied by Islam, especially Ottoman Turks.
The social oppression to non-muslim groups during Ottoman occupation was a fact. Christians were actually hiding their faith, unless they chose conversion to Islam. Greece generally kept their Orthodox faith during both the Latin and Ottoman occupation. Nowadays you can discover many Orthodox churches in Plaka and Athens, which you should visit them on their celebration date. Feeling Orthodox in Athens is definitely a must!!!