The monastery of Panagia Vronda (Greek Παναγία Βροντά = Virgin peal) or Vrodiani or Kokkariani, was founded in 1566 (the oldest in the island) by the monks Iakovos and Makarios which was seeking to find a quiet place for their spiritual uplift. The natural environment of the region and the endless views, offered them what they wanted and thus created the foundations of the monastery. In this place there were ruins of ancient church (probably 14th century) in honor of Virgin birthdays, like the present church of the monastery.
The shape of the church is a basilica with a dome and renovated in 1803, as writes the inscription at the entrance. Formerly inside the church was whole frescoed, but with the passage of time however a large part destroyed and left some in the sanctuary and dome, while there are and some modern in the church vestibule. The amazing wood carving altarpiece it is decorated with scenes of the Old and New Testament as the sacrifice of Abraham. The icons of the altarpiece are from 18th and 19th century and stands out the icon of “Virgin Mary birthday”, which is silver plated by Iakovos hand in 1777.
The monastery has an important collection of heirlooms like relics of saints, holy utensils and a large collection of books and documents dating from the 16th century.
The fame of the monastery was great, so it attracted many monks, according to the traveler and author Tournefort in 1702 was greater monastery in the island with more than 200 monks, while the author Kritikidis at 1869 wrote that it was about 400 monks.
The name of the monastery “Vronda” or “Vrondiani” probably comes from the many thunder (lightning) that sound in the frequent storms at that area, because “Vrondao” in Greek means rumble. For the monastery used and the not popular name “Kokkariani” probably because at that time the path leading to the monastery started from Kokkari.
The monastery suffered a serious blow from the devastating fire in August 2000, along with large forest areas of the island, fortunately survived both churches. With funding of Samos Metropolis and donations from people all around the world, the monastery was repaired around 2010 and acquired again the nobility to continue its long history.top
- Foundation year : 1566 (the oldest in Samos)
- Founder : Monks Iakovos and Makarios
- Inhabited : By 1 monk
- Responsible : Reverend Konstantinos Landrou
- Celebration : 8 September
- Altitude : Elevation ≈ 480 m
- Condition : Excellent (complete renovation after the fire of 1999)
- Access is free to the public. Entrance to the monastery is allowed only when properly dressed, with decorous clothing.