The monastery of “Megali Panagia” (Greek Μεγάλη Παναγιά = Great Virgin Mary) or “pende ospition” (=five houses) was founded in 1586 by the monks Nilus and Dionysos, who had become a monks in mount “Latros” near ancient Miletus in middle east.
The two monks and some more, they were staying at the position that is the chapel of St. George (southeastof the monastery, at the road junction that goes to Ireon and Mili, when you come from Pythagorean), but the frequent raids of the pirates, they led them to move higher (a little farther from the current position of the monastery) and they built five small huts, to cover their housing needs, from where it got the monastery its second name pende ospition” (=five houses).
According to tradition, one night that the monk Dionysus praying, sees a light that puzzled him, because the area was not habitable. This continued for several nights, until they decided to see what is going on. With the help of the monk Nile they identified the area and when dug the ground, discovered a ceramic icon depicting scenes from Virgin Mary Eisodia. They took the icon in their hut, but the next day the icon was vanished and returned to the point that found. Considering this as God’s will, they decided to build a chapel dedicated to the holy Apostles Peter and Paul (from 1587 still exists inside the current church). Unfortunately the icon was destroyed, along with other important relics of the 17th century, after a major fire broke out in the monastery, but 1670 created an exact copy of which still exists and is in the chapel of the Holy Apostles.
Today in the large courtyard area of the monastery, there is the great church of the “Megali Panagia, Byzantine style, cruciform with dome, built in 1593 as stating the inscription inside the church. Remarkable is the marble-carved campanile, the outline marble-carved of the church entrance (from 1777 July 15), the great wood-carved door in the vestibule, the excellent wood-carved iconostasis and frescoes that covering all the walls, with scenes from the Bible, the life of Christ and virgin Mary and forms from Apostles, prophets, ascetics.
At the vestibule of the church (to the right) there is the chapel of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul (from 1587), which is the first building of the monastery. The interior is wholly covered with frescoes of astonishing art, while the icons of the wood-carved iconostasis dating from the 17th century. Going down the eight stone steps, into the chapel, you will find the “holy water” and the point that excavated the icon by Dionysius and Nile monks in 1586, by then and the monastery.
- Foundation year : 1586
- Founder : Monk Nilus and Dionysos
- Inhabited : By 5 monk
- Responsible : Abbot Archimandrite Chrysostom Lelos
- Celebration : 15 August
- Altitude : Elevation ≈ 250 m
- Condition : excellent
- Access is free to the public. Entrance to the monastery is allowed only when properly dressed, with decorous clothing.