A policeman and the sexton of the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint Dionysios in Athens’ upscale Kolonaki neighbourhood were injured when an explosive device went off outside the church early this morning.

There was apparently no warning call from the culprits in advance.

The church is one of the largest in Athens and served as the capital’s cathedral during renovation of the Athens Cathedral.

On 14 May, 1962, the Greek Orthodox royal wedding (there was also a Roman Catholic one) of Princess Sophia of Greece and Prince Juan Carlos of Asturias (later King and Queen of Spain) was held in Saint Dionysios.

At approximately 7:00, when the sexton was about to open the doors of the church, he spotted a suspect box on the sidewalk and immediately called the police.

When a policeman from the nearby Exarheia precinct arrived, he approached the spot to examine the box and  was injured and taken to the 401 Military Hospital.

Officers from the police bureau for the neutralisation of explosives who were immediately dispatched, collected bits of the makeshift bomb, including a clock.

Nikos Rigas, the general secretary of the Union of Athens Policemen told ERT state-run television that the circumstances of the explosion have not yet been ascertained, and he confirmed that one police officer was uninjured.

The general secretary of Greek Police Special Guards, Stratos Mavroidakos, said that initial reports indicated that the face and hands of the policemen were injured.