Agia Lavra Monastery in Kalavryta
The Monastery of Agia Lavra in Kalavryta: The Monastery of Agia Lavra is placed among trees and lush vegetation, 5 km from the town of Kalavrita. It consists of an imposing cluster of buildings, at an altitude of 961m, which provides an open view to the Vouraikos river valley. On the right side of the court lays the famous small chapel where the Greek Revolution of 1821 against the Turks was declared.
However, this is the third version of this Monastery, since the first one was burnt by the Turkish leader Ibrahim Pasha and the second one was destroyed by an earthquake, fires and the German troops in 1943. The Monastery of Agia Lavra was founded by the monk Eugene Askitis and was firstly built in 961 A.C. in the close by area Paleomonastiro.
In 1585, it was completely destroyed by the Turks, because the Monastery would hide the Greek revolutionists, but in 1689 it was rebuilt in its present area. The Monastery has been through much destruction from the Turks, earthquakes, and fires. The most recent destruction was in 1943 when the Nazi troops burned the building and killed three monks who refused to abandon the Monastery. Finally, in 1950 the Monastery of Agia Lavra was rebuilt with donations of pilgrims and the state's support.
Fortunately, some important historical items have survived these tragic events. In the monastery, we can see the first Greek flag, the Banner of the Revolution which was raised to declare the Greek War of Independence on March 25th, 1821. We can also see the sacerdotal vestments of Paleon Patron Germanos, the bishop who declared the Revolution against the Turks.
There is also a collection of paintings made by Agios Panteleimon that date back to the 17th century as well as a diamond-decorated Gospel, a gift from the Russian empress Aikaterini the Great. There are also many icons and religious woodcuts. Every March 25th, the Monastery of Agia Lavra celebrates the Greek Independence from the Turks with reenactments of the gathering of the Greek leaders and the raising of the Revolution's Banner.