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Churches

Apostle Paul after Athens chose to visit Corinth, where he stayed for a year and a half preaching the word of God. Then, Corinth was the most important commercial centre of Greece. Nowadays, the area receives a large number of travellers from every corner of the world who wish to visit the Archaeological Site of Corinth and to see the place where Apostle Paul preached.

Countless Byzantine churches and historical monasteries built in picturesque settlements, harmoniously located in modern cities or on top of steep rocks testify a land of long history and tradition.

Agia Theodora, Vastas
ag theodora vastas

Agia Theodora Vasta is a small Byzantine church and has 17 holly and maple trees growing from its roof. Most of them are taller than 30 metres and it’s phenomenal as there is only one root about the thickness of an arm that is visible beside the entrance.

Even more amazing is its tiny barrel vaulted interior where, except for one wispy bit of green there is not one sign of the trees or roots. Another fascinating fact about the location is that a river runs beneath this church and irrigates the trees.

Monastery of Mega Spileon
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The Holy Monastery of Mega Spileon is placed 11 km far from the town of Kalavryta. The Monastery of Mega Spileon was originally built in 362 AD by two brothers, Symeon and Theodore, when a shepherd girl, after a dream, found an icon of the Virgin Mary inside a cave. The icon was made of wax and mastic and it is believed that Apostle Luke painted it. The Monastery has suffered numerous destructions and fires along its history. In spite of all these damages, the Monastery of Mega Spileon is a very imposing construction and has a 17th century church with remarkable frescoes, mosaic floors and a bronze door with relief decoration. The Monastery also hosts a museum that displays carved wooden crosses, antique manuscripts and Holy Gospels. A good number of its important relics are also kept in a special hall.

Moni Osiou Patapiou
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At the steep slope of mount Geraneia, over Loutraki, at a location with a panoramic view, is the famous Monastery of Osios Patapios, one of the most important pilgrimages in Greece.

The monastery has developed around the cave that has been used as a hermitage at least from the 14th century and in its interior the relic of osios Patapios was found. The relic used to be kept at Constantinople and it was under the protection of Helena Palaiologina, later Saint Ypomone (saint patience), and mother of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine Palaiologos. After the fall of Constantinople, was transferred to the cave of Loutraki to protect it and remain intact until its accidental discovery, in 1904. It was placed in a crypt, covered with tiles and was identified by the leather membrane who wrote the name of the osios. The women’s monastery was founded in 1952 and nowadays it has modern, spacious facilities, while it carries out charitable and social work.

Access to the complex takes place through large, winding stairs with approximately 150 steps. The cave is the centre of interest. In its interior there is the relic of Osios Patapios inside a wooden reliquary, while from its roof numerous candles are hanging, dedicated by the faithful. It has stone screen with two gates and is decorated by wall paintings from the Middle Byzantine Period, probably of the 15th century. In front of the cave a modern church has been constructed, dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, which is like a catholicon. It belongs to the type of basilica with a dome and in its interior they keep the holy skull of Saint Ypomone. At the area there are still the cemetery with the small church of St Mary of Egypt, a hostel for the visitors, an excellent library and an exhibition area.

The church celebrates on the 8th of December, day of the death of Osios Patapios, and on Easter Thursday, day they found his relic.

Agia Lavra Monastery
agia lavra monastery

At an idyllic location at the foothills of mount Velia, a little higher from Kalavryta, is the famous monastery of Agia Lavra, which is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. Its history is directly related to the beginning of the Revolution of 1821, which was indicated by the raising of the flag and the oath that the chieftains took by the Metropolitan Germanos III of Old Patras.

According to tradition, the monastery was founded in 961 and initially it was located approximately 300 m. higher, at the location Palaiomonastiro. It was torched by the Turks in 1585 and operated again in 1600, while in 1689 it was transferred to its present day location by abbot Eugenios.

During the Revolution of 1821 it plated a significant role, providing money and food. In 1826 it was torched by Ibrahim, but the monks managed to abandon it, saving a lot from its precious relics. It was reconstructed in 1828 with the addition of a third catholicon, but it was destroyed again by an earthquake in 1844 and was reconstructed in 1850. The last great destruction was in the hands of the Germans in 1943 and the final reconstruction took place in around 1950 under the supervision of the well-known architect Anastasios Orlandos.

The monastery has an excellent library with rare books and documents, and a museum with unique relics from the Greek Revolution, like the famous flag, a Gospel with diamonds, gift from the empress Catherine of Russia, and the priest garments of Germanos of Old Patras. Furthermore, there are the relics of saints and the skull of Agios Alexios, patron saint of Kalavryta, donated by Manuel Palaiologos in 1398.

Each year, on the 25th of March at the area of Agia Lavra a reenactment of the taking of the oath of the fighters and the declaration of the Revolution of 1821, attracting hundreds of people from every area of the country.

It is a men’s monastery and it celebrates on the 15th of August.

The church of the Madonna of the rock in Ano Tarsos
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This miniscule monastery built inside the rocks, called “Panagia tou Vrachou” (Madonna of the rock), is a strange and interesting place to visit. Built inside a rock, it has two stories, of which the upper one was used to store foodstuffs. It was used during the Ottoman occupation as a safe haven from persecution by the local Greeks by the Ottomans.
You can visit it on your way from Karia to Feneos. At the village Kato Tarsos turn right and follow the signs up the mountain.

Apostolos Pavlos Church
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The Apostle of Nations visited Corinth three times during his journeys and his letters to the Corinthians are supreme examples of Christian teaching, and as a matter of fact he himself founded the first metropolis.

At its yard dominates the impressive bell tower, with a height of almost 30 m., which is all that is left from the older church, while there are chapels dedicated to Agios Kyriakos the Anchorite and Nektarios of Pentapolis. At its interior there are baptistery halls and halls for the meeting of the church council, as well as a confessional. The three aisles are dedicated the central to Apostle Paul and the side ones to his disciples, Timothy and Titus.

The church celebrates on the 29th of June.

Monastery of the Virgin Lechova
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The imposing stone entrance gate of the monastery lies at the foothill of mount Vesiza, at an elevation of 1050 meters, four kilometers from Kryoneri village in the municipality of Sikyona. The monastery is laid out around a huge plane tree that dominates the courtyard; the church, the cells of the nuns, the guesthouse, the fountain, the orchards and the old well. The original marble marquetry on the floor dates back to the 11ο -12ο century A.D. The icon of Our Lady of Lechova dates back to the 17th century and it was painted by the Zakynthian hagiographer Theodoros Papantonis or Georgantas. Monastery currently operates as a nunnery.

Monastery of Panagia Chiliomodi
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At a pine-tree area, 3 km from Chiliomodi, is the Monastery of Faneromeni, which is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
From the old monastery the catholicon of the 13th century survives, with the beautiful but worn out wall paintings, but also the half ruined buildings of the cells. During the Revolution of 1821 the monastery contributed significantly both materially and intellectually, it was a refuge for the civilians of the area, and a place where the chieftains prayed, like Kolokotronis and Nikitaras. In 1854 the monastery suffered a lot of damages due to an earthquake and in 1896 the brotherhood of monks was transferred lower, to the new monastery, which was founded in the 16th century and until then it was the metochi of the old one. Then they transferred to their original location the screen of the first church and the icon of the Virgin Mary carrying baby Jesus. In 1949 the monastery was renovated and was converted into a women’s monastery.

The catholicon is cross-in-square church with a dome supported on two columns and date from 1896, since then it was renovated, when the monastery was transferred. At its interior survives the elaborate old wooden-carved screen of the 17th century, which is decorated with representations from the Old and the New Testament, as well as the icon of Theotokos Faneromeni, which is considered the work of Luke the Evengelist. The monastery has relics, among them the holy skull of Agios Sophronius, patriarch of Jerusalem. Outside the monastery there is a small church of Agia Marina, which dates from the 16th century and has been painted by the great painter of that period, Demetrios Kakkavas.

It celebrates on the 23rd of August with a three-day celebration and a procession of the icon from the old to the new monastery.

The monastery also celebrates on the 11th of March (day of Agios Sofronios), on Bright Friday (day of Zoodochos Pigi – Life Giving Source), on the 17th of July (day of Agia Marina) and on the 9th of November (day of Agios Nectarios).

The monastery of Saint George of Feneos
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St George of Feneos is a very old monastery. It hangs suspended almost over Lake Doxa, in a deep bed of forest. Enter the court yard and go up to the partly renovated, thanks to European funds, second floor where the lone monk will offer you homemade rose petal preserve. A real treat! Then sit and gaze, peacefully, at the great view of the peaceful lake down below, contemplating, like so many before you on the same spot, eternity…
To reach the monastry follow the road to Mesaia Trikala, then turn right at the sign for Karya. Continue straight, then take a left turn at the sign for Feneos. The monastery is perched on top of lake Doxa.

The monastery of Agios Vlassis in Upper Trikala
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The monastery of Agios Vlassis, in the village of Upper Trikala, is an oasis of peace. And its well-kept flower garden is a real beauty! Admire the icon of Saint Vlasis, the finding of which in the surrounding mountains led to the founding of the monastery; the wooden temple crafted by master Skordilis; and the religious icons painted by N. Santorinaios.
To reach the monastery follow the sighns to Ano Trikala, then continue up the mountain towards the Ziria sports centre. You will meet the monastery on your left hand side.

Church of Panagia Plataniotissa
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At the village Plataniotissa, 30km northwest of Kalavryta, at a beautiful green location, is one of the most peculiar and special pilgrimages of Greece, Panagia Plataniotissa, from which the village took its name.

It is a very small church dedicated to the Birth of Virgin Mary, which has been shaped in the cavity of a huge, very old platanus tree. The tree has a perimeter of around 17 m. on the basis and height of25 m., and through time it has created a complex with two other platanus trees.

At the interior of the church, inside a natural cavity of the platanus tree, there is the depiction, in a miraculous way, of the icon of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus. The icons is identical to the one at the Monastery of Megalou Spilaiou, to be accurate it is the reverse of it.

The church celebrates on the 8th of September.

Panagia Tripiti
panagia tripiti

At the beach of Aigio, at the wooded rock over the old paper factory, is one of the most beautiful pilgrimages of Greece, the majestic church of Zoodochis Pigi (Life Giving Source), also known as Panagia Tripiti. The name comes from the tradition that the icon of the Virgin Mary was found inside a small cave, that is a hole (tripa in Greek) on the rock, by a castaway who became the first ascetic at this location.

The foundation of the church dates from the middle of the 16th century, the period when the icon was found, and the simple shrine that existed initially in time attracted more monks.

The church was built in the cave of the rock where the monastery used to be and part of it is carved on the rock. Main access is through a large scale staircase of renaissance style, with 150 steps, which was constructed in 1870 to plans of engineer Angelos Korizis. In the rock, lower from the church, in a small cave survives the hermitage of the first monk.

The church celebrates the day of Zoodochos Pigi, on Bright Friday.

 

Agios Fanourios Feneos
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St. Fanourios by the lake Doxa

Church of Agios Andreas
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At the south seaside area of Patras, near the place where Apostle Andrew died, there are two churches dedicated to the patron saint of the city. The more recent one is one of the largest one in the Balkans and today is the cathedral church of Patras and the symbol of the city.

The old church was built initially in the end of the 5th century over the ruins of an ancient temple of Artemis and belongs to the type of the basilica. It was an important pilgrimage and suffered a lot of destructions through the centuries, with the last one being its torching by the Turco-Albanians in 1770. He remained in ruins until the erection of the present day church, which started in 1836 according to plans by the famous architect Lysandros Kaftantzoglou. Its inauguration took place in 1843 and in the period 1845-1856 it was the Metropolitan church of the city. Architecturally it belongs to the type of three-aisled basilica and its interior is decorated by excellent wall paintings and icons of Ionian Islands style, works of well-known artists. At the southern aisle is the tomb of Saint Andrew, coated with marble, while next to the church, at an underground vaulted cave, there is a water spring, which is considered holy water.

Left of the old church there is the impressive new church, which was of Byzantine order. It was founded in 1908 by King George I and was inaugurated in 1974, since its construction took place with interruptions, due to the instability of the ground and financial problems. Its dome is 46 meters high while at its roof there is a gold-plated cross five meters high, while smaller crosses are over the domes of the twelve bell towers. Its interior has an area of 2,500m2 and its capacity exceeds 8,000 people. The creation of the icons started in 1985, was interrupted in 1993 and continued in 2006. At the church they keep the skull of saint Andrew, which was given to Patras from Italy in 1964, as well as part from the cross where he died.

The church celebrates on the 30th of November and the nearest Sunday to the 26th of September (anniversary of the return of the holy skull).

Ecclesiastical Museum of Nafplio
ekklisiastiko moseio naupliou

The very interesting Ecclesiastical Museum of Nafplio is housed at a hall that belongs to the Church of Evangelistria.

The showcases host important ecclesiastical exhibits, which cover the so-called Middle Byzantine period from the 16th until the 20th century. Particularly important is the collection of portable icons, and a wooden cross, which dates from the 16th century. The visitor can also admire several valuable sacred vessels, as well as the collection of Gospels, most of which were printed in Venetian printers in the 18th century.