Monastery of Makelaria

Location: Lapanagi   

The Monastery of Panagia Makelaria in Kalavryta, Peloponnese: The Monastery of Panagia Makelarias is found close to the village of Lapanagi, approximately 30 km from Kalavryta Town. The Monastery is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. According to an inscription, the monastery was built in 532 AD by General Velissarius Justinian.

Panagia Makelarias has a small Byzantine church in its centre, with a beautiful wooden-carved screen, on which the icon of the Virgin is placed. This is an authentic Byzantine art piece, with a distinctive feature: wherever you stand, the Virgin's eyes give you the impression that they follow you. The holy icon of the Virgin, along with a pot full of olive oil, was found in the 15th century in an area close to the Monastery.

The Monastery was originally known as Panagia Lithostrotiotissa, which means our Lady with stones but took the name Panagia Makelarias, from the word makelio (destruction in English), when the Turks burnt the Monastery in 1458. The Monastery of Makelarias hosts some precious exhibits, such as the Holy Icon of the Virgin and some weapons and vestments from fighters of the Greek Revolution War.

In 1980, some important items were stolen from the Monastery, such as some gold and silver Byzantine Gospels, Byzantine icons and, most of all, a hand-made Russian box which had a piece of the thorn wreath of Jesus, of his mantle, of the Holy Cross and his sponge. Close to this Monastery, you will find the chapel of the Transfiguration of Jesus, built in a small cave. A rock near the chapel continuously runs out holy water.

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