Lesvos is renowned for the several Byzantine churches and pilgrimages, most of which gather a great number of people from all over Greece and the rest of the world.
In the settlement of Thermi, in Karyes hill rises the monastery of Agios Raphael, the most famous monastery of Lesvos. The monastery was established in 1963 over the ruins of an ancient church. The saint is known for its healing powers and the monastery attracts and accommodates hundreds of pilgrims every year.
One of the island's attractions is the beautiful monastery complex of Taxiarches, in the village of Madamados, the saint protector of the island. The holy icon of the saint is considered quite unique and miraculous. A worth-seeing monument is Agios Ioannis Therapontas (Healer) Church which is standing near the pier. It is the largest structure of the town built in the early 18th century. One of the oldest churches of the town is the Byzantine church of Agioi Theodoroi, located at the edge of the ancient town. It hosts worth seeing icons and relics.
Among the most famous churches is the Metropolis Church of Agios Athanasios located at the center of Mytilene. The 16th-century religious site is one of the most remarkable examples of post-Byzantine architecture. It is the symbol of Mytilene. The 14th century of Panagia Tourloti should not be missed, one of the few surviving Byzantine monuments in Lesvos.
One of the monasteries that have played an important role in the religious and spiritual history of the island is the 16th-century monastery of Limonos. It was built during the Byzantine years and today visitors can admire a remarkable collection that consists of icons, handmade objects, folklore relics, and other religious treasures. The monastery's library is also of unique interest.
The Monastery of Ipsilou is an active monastery on the top of Odrymnos hill, in Andissa village. According to the tradition, the monastery belongs to the Byzantine period and after a long time of abandonment the monastery flourishes again but is destroyed by the fire.
Other churches that spread throughout the island of Lesvos is Agios Stefanos, the early Christian Basilica of Saint Andrew and Agios Athanasios, the cathedral of Mytilene.
This monastery was founded in 1523 and was used as a spiritual center during the Ottoman occupation. The large halls of the monastery have been turned into an interesting museum, housing various treasures and marvels. The monastery also houses a rich library with more than 15,000 documents and 450 manuscripts that date from the 9th and 19th century. Women are not allowed to enter the monastery.
This monastery is said to be miracle-working and hosts the skull of Agios Raphael. It was built on the site of two previous monasteries and this is a sacred place of pilgrimage. Saint Raphael is the protector of the island.
Monastery of Taxiarhes
This monastery is located in Madamados, northern Lesvos. It was built in 1700, restored in 1879, and it is dedicated to the saint patron of Lesvos. The tradition says that the icon of Taxiarhes in this church was made of clay and the blood of some monks, slaughtered by pirates in the Medieval times.
This church is dedicated to Saint John the Healer. It is located in the center of Mytilene, the capital of Lesvos. The church is a three-aisled basilica with an impressive architecture of Neoclassical and Renaissance elements. The church was built in the 19th century and has beautiful icons.
The beautiful church of Saint Athanasios is located right in the center of the town of Mytilene and has a remarkable structure. It dates from the 17th century and the bell tower has Gothic elements. This is the Cathedral of Mytilene.