Ipsilou Monastery

Location: Andissa   

The Byzantine Monastery of Ipsilou in Lesvos, Greece: The Monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos, also known as the Monastery of Ipsilou, is located above the mountainous village of Andissa, 15 km from Eressos Lesvos. Its architecture has many similarities to a castle architecture, as it has tall walls and arched gates. The monastery stands on the highest peak of Ordimnos Mountain Range, at an altitude of 511 m from the sea level.

Founded in 800 AD by Osios Theofanis Sigrianis, this is the oldest monastery of Lesvos island. A sign indicates that the katholikon (main church) was built in 1101 AD. Along the following centuries, the monastery was repeatedly raided by the Ottomans in 1462, 1821 and 1851, who also took valuable relics with them. In 1967, a large part of the monastery and the katholikon were damaged by a fire and they were later restored by the Archaeological Service and the Bishop of Mytilene.

The katholikon is dedicated to Agios Ioannis Theologos and celebrates on May 8th every year. Inside the church, there are some large Byzantine icons dedicated to Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, and Saint John. Inside the monastery, visitors can also see gold-plated gospels, crosses with rubies and pearls, holy vessels of various times, reliquaries with relics of saints as well as interesting manuscripts depicting the history of the monastery.

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