Steps of Saint Paul

At the place where St. Paul preached the Christian faith, there is today a religious monument, the so-called “Step of St. Paul”, just a few meters away from the Clock Square (Raktivan) in the center of the city. Here, the Roman plates of the 1st century are preserved, on which, according to tradition, the Apostle of the Nations stood during his sermon, giving the monument a special historical, religious and emotional value.

The monument is also decorated with impressive mosaic hagiographies, while a statue of Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles, donated by the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Academy of Arts, was recently placed in the surrounding area. The “St. Paul’s Step” is today indisputable proof of the presence of St. Paul in Veria and a world monument of religious and cultural heritage, attracting thousands of visitors from every corner of the world every year.

Every year, in June, religious, cultural and educational events are held under the title “Paulia” in honor of St. Paul, founder of the local church. The “Paulia” culminates with the high-priestly vespers held at the Vima of the Apostle Paul on his feast day, June 29.

METROPOLIS: "The jewel of Byzantine Veria"

The Old Metropolis of Veria, is one of the largest Middle Byzantine temples in the Balkans, built in the decade 1070-1080 by the bishop of the city, Nikita. It is a three-aisled basilica with a masterpiece of architecture that shows similarities in shape with the early Christian church of Ag. Dimitriou in Thessaloniki.

The features that give the Old Metropolis its uniqueness and special architectural, artistic and historical value are the incorporation of early Christian patterns, giving the impression of an older temple compared to the corresponding monuments of the same period, as well as the impressive mural decoration, which houses some of the greatest works of Byzantine painting of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries. Thus, the jewel of Byzantine Veria is justly characterized.

With the completion of the restoration works of the Imathia Antiquities Authority in 2016, the monument can be visited, offering the visitor a unique living journey through the Byzantine history of the city. The monument can be visited from Monday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00.

Monasteries and Pilgrimages

Holy Monasteries & Pilgrimages
In the wider area of Veria, there are churches and monasteries, some of them from Byzantine times, of archaeological and architectural interest, with historical and educational value, such as:
The Holy Monastery of Panagia Dovras and the newly built Church of Agios Loukas in Simferoupolis
The Holy Monastery of Panagia Soumela
The Holy Monastery of Timi Prodromos-Sketis of Berea
The Holy Monastery of Theotokos of Kallipetra
The Holy Monastery of Moutsialis
The Holy Monastery of Prophet Ilias Asomata

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The monastery is built between two hills, in an idyllic landscape surrounded by dense vegetation. The Monastery is honored in the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, it was founded in the 12th century. A scroll of the Monastery, dating back to the 12th century, is kept in the National Library of Athens. The Monastery functioned continuously until 1822. During the period of the Revolution it was one of the most important ethnic and religious centers of the region. Here the well-known general Karatassos develops his action and here the forces of the Turks are successfully dealt with. With the destruction of 1822, the Monastery was set on fire and its abbot, hieromonk Gerasimos, was hanged. The catholicon that is preserved today was built in 1844. The Monastery was re-founded in 1995 as Androa Community Monastery. Church camps and the Byzantine Arts Educational Center (hagiography, mosaics, woodcarving and conservation) operate on the grounds of the Monastery.

Jewish Synagogue

“The oldest synagogue in Northern Greece”
In the heart of the Jewish quarter is the stone building of the Synagogue, the oldest Synagogue in Northern Greece, with elaborate interior decoration. Behind it the Mikveh (religious bathhouse) is still preserved, and unlike the Christian neighborhoods that had the church in the middle, in the Jewish neighborhood the Synagogue was in the same line as the houses. Today it is closed and only opens when Jews travel and come to pray. The presence of the Jewish element in the city of Berea is timeless, with the first official evidence of the existence of a Jewish community in the city being recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, where explicit reference is made to the visits of the Apostle Paul to the city in order to preach Christianity to the Jews of the area.

In fact, one of the places where the Apostle of the Gentiles taught beyond the neighboring “Step of the Apostle Paul” was the site of the ancient synagogue which is believed to have been in the same place as the present synagogue. The Jewish Synagogue in its current form was built in 1850, being the oldest synagogue in Northern Greece and one of the oldest in Europe. The synagogue functioned as the center of the religious and social life of the city’s numerous Jewish community until May 1, 1943, the day when the majority of Berea’s Jews were captured by the occupation forces and ended up in concentration camps, effectively ending the centuries-long presence them in town.

The operation of the synagogue

Today, the function of the synagogue is twofold. First, it continues to occasionally function as a place of worship. Secondly, it is a living monument of the timeless presence of the Jews in the city and a representative sample of their religious, architectural and artistic tradition. The interior of the synagogue is truly impressive and features original wood-carved ceilings and vibrant mosaic tiles. There, we also find the Vima (Teva) which is delimited by the four marble columns in the center of the temple, the Echal (Holy Ark) which is decorated according to the local tradition and the old and new gynekonitis.
Opening hours for the public: Monday – Sunday 12.00-15.00 The visit to the Jewish Synagogue of Veria can also be scheduled by telephone. Entrance Ticket €3 per person. PWDs and young people up to 18 years old free of charge Tel: 6983880329 Ms. Evi Meskak. Bakolas Ezra: Upon contact tel. 69373053012331350608 Vice Mayor of Tourism of Veria

Agios Patapios

The archaeological site of Agios Patapios was the center of ancient and early Christian Veria. It is the only open archaeological site of the city with finds that prove the urban continuity of Veria from the 2nd century to the last post-Byzantine years.

A special place in the archaeological site is occupied by the religious buildings of the 4th and 5th centuries which were discovered in the immediate vicinity of the post-Byzantine church of Ag. Patapiou (16th century), which is preserved intact to this day. It is an early Christian baptistery (4th century) on the ruins of which a large early Christian basilica (5th century) was built. The site also preserves rare mosaic floors that impress the visitor and testify to the high art that developed in the area during the early Christian period.

Madrasa Mosque

It is located on the southeast side of the Byzantine city. Its name presupposes the existence of another building, the Madrasah (seminary), not preserved today. It is next to and behind the Apostle Paul’s Altar and the primary school. It is preserved in good condition. It was built in 1850 with materials from the Byzantine church of Paul the Apostle, which was demolished, after it had previously been converted into a mosque by Moussa Celebis, the conqueror of the city. On the side of the mosque, until 1922 there was a seminary (school) – madrasah, which burned down, that is why the mosque got its name. It had a common enclosure with the pulpit of the Apostle Paul, where sacred, spiritual discussions took place.

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