The Church of the Prophet Elijah occupies a commanding position at the junction of Olymbiados and Profiti Ilia Streets in the Upper Town. Its dedication to Elijah dates to after Thessaloniki's liberation from Ottoman rule and has no historical basis.

The church has been variously identified as the katholikon of the New Monastery of the Virgin, founded by Makarios Choumnos, and as the Akapniou Monastery, closely connected with the Palaiologos dynasty. However, the iconographical programme indicates that it was dedicated to Christ, rather than to the Virgin.

The building combines elements of the city's Palaiologan churches with features seen in the katholika of the Athonite monasteries. It is a tetrastyle cross-in-square triconch with a narthex and a portico terminating in two chapels. The entire structure is crowned with seven domes. This is the only example of its type in Thessaloniki. The triconchal plan with the two lateral apses (choroi) for the cantors, the typikaria flanking the sanctuary apse, and the spacious narthex (lite) are features of monastic architecture. The varied volumes and surfaces on the superstructure produce an incomparable effect with an overriding sense of upward thrust. A staircase in the thickness of the south wall of the narthex leads to the gallery. The meticulous concealed-course technique of the masonry, together with the elaborate decorative brickwork, gives the church a painterly aspect.

The entire interior was frescoed, but all that survives today is some fragmentary scenes from the life and the miracles of Christ in the narthex and figures of saints in the lateral apses, the typikaria, and the chapels at the ends of the portico. The decoration dates to 1360-70 and represents the final phase of Palaiologan art. The powerful, expressive realism brings out the figures' anguish and dread of the inevitable. The Massacre of the Innocents stands out for its realism and the starkly convincing fear on the terrified faces.

In the Ottoman period the church was converted into a mosque and the frescoes were plastered over. Its new name of Serayli Ҫamii ("mosque of the palace") was connected with the folk tradition that there had been a Byzantine palace in the area. The retaining features added in the Ottoman period were removed in 1958-60.

Church of Prophet Elias
Church of Prophet Elias
Church of Prophet Elias
Church of Prophet Elias
Church of Prophet Elias