The Seismic Behaviour of Stone Masonry Greek Orthodox Churches

George C. Manos


The seismic behaviour of structural systems representing Greek Orthodox churches is examined. All these churches are made of stone masonry in various architectural forms. During the years such churches developed damage to their stone masonry structural elements due to the amplitude of the gravitational forces acting together with the seismic forces. In certain cases such damage was amplified due to the deformability of the foundation. The behaviour of structural systems representing Greek Orthodox churches was simulated through linear and non-linear numerical models. The numerical results together with assumed strength values or failure criteria were utilized to predict the behaviour of the various masonry parts in in-plane shear and flexure as well as out-of-plane flexure. The deformability of the foundation partly explains the appearance of structural damage as can be seen both from observations and the numerical predictions. A limit-state methodology is presented whereby the demands obtained from linear elastic numerical models combined with limit-state in-plane behaviour of unreinforced stone masonry walls in shear/flexure or diagonal tension can yield reasonably good predictions of observed behaviour. Furthermore, the possibilities offered by non-linear inelastic numerical analyses as alternative means for examining the performance of unreinforced stone masonry walls is also briefly presented. Towards this objective, non-linear inelastic numerical simulation results are presented that yield reasonably good agreement with the relevant measured behaviour of stone masonry wall specimens of prototype dimensions that were subjected to simultaneous vertical compression and horizontal cyclic seismic-type loading in the laboratory. The obtained results from these specimens were utilized to also validate an expert system based on this limit-state methodology. Again, the observed behaviour was predicted with reasonable accuracy in terms of bearing capacity and mode of failure by this expert system.


Greek Orthodox Churches; Stone masonry; In-plane behaviour; Gravitational forces; Seismic actions; Foundation deformability; Limit-state; Non-linear behaviour

Full Text:



Bernardini A, Modena C, Turnsek V, Vescovi U (1980) A comparison of three laboratory test methods used to determine the shear resistance of masonry walls” Proc. 7th WCEE, vol 7, IAEE, Istanbul, pp 181–184.

Betti, M. & Vignoli, A. (2008) “Assessment of seismic resistance of a basilica-type church under earthquake loading: Modelling and analysis”, Advances in Engin. Software 39 (2008): 258–283

Eurocode 6 part 1: Design of structures for earthquake resistance - Part 1: General rules, seismic actions and rules for buildings, FINAL DRAFT prEN 1998-1, December 2003.

Eurocode 8: Design of structures for earthquake resistance - Part 1: General rules, seismic actions and rules for buildings, FINAL DRAFT prEN 1998-1, December 2003.

GEER - EERI - ATC - Cephalonia GREECE Earthquake Reconnaissance January 26th/ February 2nd 2014 Version 1: June 6 2014

Gulkan P., Clough R.W., Manos G.C. and Mayes R.L., (1990), “Seismic Testing of Single-story Masonry Houses : Parts 1&2”, Journal of Str. Eng. ASCE, Vol. 116, No 1, Jan. 1990, pp. 235-274.

Hibbitt, Karlsson, Sorensen (2010) Inc. ABAQUS user’s manual volumes I–V and ABAQUS CAE manual. Version 6.10.1. Pawtucket, USA.

Manos, G.C. (1994) Seismic Code of Greece, Chapter 17, International Handbook of Earthquake Engineering: "Codes, Programs and Examples", edited by Mario Paz, by Chapman and Hall, ISBN 0-412-98211-0

Manos G.C., Soulis V., Diagouma A. (2008) “Numerical Investigation of the behaviour of the church of Agia Triada, Drakotrypa, Greece”, Journal in Advances in Engin. Software 39, 284-300.

Μanos G. C., Soulis V. J., Felekidou O., Koutsianou A., Lipiridou P. (2009) “The dynamic and earthquake response of Greek Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Basilicas”, COMDYN 2009, Greece.

Manos G., Soulis V., Felekidou O., Matsou V. (2010(1)) “A Numerical Investigation of the Dynamic and Earthquake Behaviour of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Basilicas”, 9th U.S. and 10th Canadian Earthq. Eng. Conf., Canada.

Manos G,, Soulis V., Felekidou O. (2010(2)) “Numerical Study of the Dynamic and Earthquake Behavior of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Basilicas”, 8th International Masonry Conference, Dresden, Germany.

Manos G.C., (2011) “Consequences on the urban environment in Greece related to the recent intense earthquake activity”, Int. Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Volume 5, No. 12 (Serial No. 49), pp. 1065–1090.

Manos, G.C, Kotoulas, L., Matsou, V., Felekidou, O. (2013(1)) “Dynamic behaviour of Greek Post-Byzantine churches with foundation deformability and evaluation of their earthquake performance”, CompDyn2013, 12-14 June 2013, Greece.

Manos G.C., Soulis V., Karamitsios N. (2012) “The Performance of Post-Byzantine churches during the Kozani-1995 Earthquake – Numerical Investigation of their Dynamic and Earthquake Behavior”, 15WCEE, Portugal.

Manos G. C. & Karamitsios N., (2013(2)) “Numerical simulation of the dynamic and earthquake behavior of Greek post-Byzantine churches with and without base isolation”, Earthquake Engineering Retrofitting of Heritage Structures, Design and evaluation of strengthening techniques, pp. 171-186, Edited By: S. Syngellakis, Wessex Institute of Technology, UK, ISBN: 978-1-84564-754-4, eISBN: 978-1-84564-755-1.

Manos, G.C. & Kotoulas, L. (2014) “Earthquake Performance of Greek Post-Byzantine Churches with Foundation Deformability “ Proc. 2nd Int. Conf. on Protection of Historical Constructions, pp. 297-303, 2014, ISBN 978-975-518-361-9.

Manos, G.C., Kotoulas, L., Felekidou, O., Vaccaro, S. and Kozikopoulos, E. (2015(1)) “Earthquake damage to Christian Basilica Churches – Application of an expert system for the preliminary in-plane design of stone masonry piers”, Int. Conf. STREMAH 2015.

Manos G.C. & Kozikopoulos E. , (2015(2)) “The dynamic and earthquake response of Basilica Churches in Kefalonia-Greece including soil-foundation deformability and wall detachment”, CompDyn2015, Krete-Greece, 2015.

Manos, G.C. Kotoulas, L., Matsou V. and Felekidou, O. “Dynamic and Earthquake Behaviour of Greek Post-Byzantine Churches with Foundation Deformability—Experimental. Investigation of Stone Masonry Material Properties”, Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015(3), I.N. Psycharis et al. (eds.), Seismic Assessment, Behavior and Retrofitof Heritage Buildings and Monuments, Computational Methods, in Applied Sciences 37, DOI10.1007/978-3-319-16130-3_9

Papazachos, B. and Papazachou, K., (1989, 1997, 2003) The earthquakes of Greece, Zitis Publ., Thessaloniki, 356 pp., 304 pp., 286 pp. (in Greek).

Provisions of Greek Seismic Code 2000, EPPO, Earthquake Planning and Protection Organization Athens, Greece, December 1999.

Provisions of Greek Seismic Code with revisions of seismic zonation, Government Gazette, Δ17α /115/9/ΦΝ275, Νο. 1154, Athens, 12 Αug. 2003.

Ramalho, Marcio Antonio et al. (2008) “A numerical model for the description of the nonlinear behaviour of multi-leaf masonry walls”, Advances in Engineering Software 39 (2008) 249–257.

Tomaževič M.(2009) “Shear resistance of masonry walls and Eurocode 6: shear versus tensile strength of masonry“, Materials and Structures, August 2009, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 889-907.

Turnsek V, Cacovic F (1971) Some experimental results on the strength of brick masonry walls. In: Proceedings of the 2nd international brick-masonry conference. British Ceramic Society, Stoke-on-Trent, pp 149–156

Vintzileou, E. (2008) “Effect of Timber Ties on the Behavior of Historic Masonry”, American Society of Civil Engineers, Journal of Structural Engineering, Vol. 134, No. 6, June 1, 2008. ©ASCE, DOI: 10.1061/ (ASCE) 0733-9445 (2008) 134:6(961).



  • There are currently no refbacks.


ISSN: 2500-0055