Brief Historical Record of the C' Army Corps' St. Costantine Church

he octagonal core of what today is the C’ Army Corps’ St. Constantine Church in Thessaloniki was erected sometime between the years 1904 and 1911 at the western-southwestern side of the Ottoman military camp, to serve as a house of prayer and to accommodate the religious needs of the camp. It was one of the last buildings to be constructed for the completion of the complex, which was designed by architect Vitaliano Poseli and inaugurated in 1903. A large octagonal hall, it comprised neo-gothic lancet windows, a small arch facing east, the mihrab, and beside it a blind side of the octagon where the minbar (Islamic pulpit) was situated. The hall was covered by a light, wooden dome coated with lead, which, to this day, is still in place.

Immediately after the emancipation of the city in 1912, and since the Ottoman camp was captured by the Greek Army, the old house of worship was converted into a church, by widening its sides, adding a window facing north, and installing the sanctuary and the niche. The new church was dedicated to St. Constantine in honor of the heir to the throne and field marshal.

Since then, a long line of military priests have served in the church, one of the first of whom, during the Greek interwar period, was most probably the renowned archimandrite Melchizedek Makris (+1939). Over the period of its first use and during the interwar the church was simply decorated, but, nevertheless adorned with icons in Nazarene style, in the spirit of the times, by famous painters from Thessaloniki, and surrounded by flowerbed, as part of the broader decoration of the gardens of the Corps’ Headquarters.

At the end of World War II architectural interventions and restoration work on the church were completed. At first, a simple arbor in the shape of a porch was added at the western side, but by the end of the 1960s it had been changed to a built narthex. In order for the narthex to be constructed, a window was added on the southern side, and the structure was widened by demolishing parts of the initial masonry on each side, so that the wide semicircular niche would take its place. The windows on each side of the southern window were transformed into a passage connecting the three parts of the narthex.

Near the end of the 1970s, under metropolitan Panteleimon B’, the exonarthex and possibly the belfry, the elevated office on the basement of the belfry, as well as a small parish hall attached to the eastern side were added. Additionally, the old decoration was taken down and the church was adorned anew with murals and stained glass.

On February 19 2009, the until then St. Constantine church was consecrated anew by metropolitan Anthimos of Thessaloniki, in honor of St. Constantine and his mother St. Helen.