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  • Writer's pictureKaritas Mitrogogos

My Visit to the Stunning Panachrantos Monastery!

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

On August 15th, Orthodox Greeks around the world celebrate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary with unique church liturgies of particular and unique splendor . . . together with countless traditional church and/or village panigiria (festivals).

The best-known celebration in Greece takes place on Tinos Island but many other islands are also well known for their Dekapentavgoustos (August 15th) celebrations including Andros Island . . . that I visited about a month ago.

I really would have loved to be on Andros Island these days to experience this celebration. . . up close . . . as Andros is well known for its long history, rich in religious tradition.

In my last blog post Charming Andros Island! I mentioned that Andros boasts a great number of significant monasteries dating from the Byzantine period to the last years of the Ottoman Empire. They are dotted all over the countryside and can be found in beautiful, secluded spots such as the magnificent Monastery of Panachrantos that I believe, is an ideal location for meditation and prayer as well as being the most beautiful Monastery I’ve visited in Greece.

After about a 14km drive from the village of Aidonia, where I was staying with my friend Maria, we arrived at the Monastery that is built on the edge of a verdant mountain amidst impressive rock formations and stunning nature in what is called the Geronakas area.

The recently renovated Monastery was built in the 10th century and resembles a Byzantine fortress. From its premises visitors can enjoy the amazing view to Chora (the capital of the island) and the Aegean Sea . . . and if lucky . . . meet the Monastery’s friendly peacock, as we did!

Upon our arrival, Maria and I were shown into a side room where we found the Monastery’s Abbot since 1957, Father Evdokimos Fragoulaki, busy sewing special artifacts he intended to display and sell at this year’s panigiri. However, he immediately arranged for another much younger Father Evdokimo to give us the official tour, including a peak into the special area that houses the sacred icon of the Virgin Mary, that is dedicated to the Immaculate Holy Mother and the relic skull of St. Panteleimon . . . where cameras are strictly forbidden!

Following our tour, Father Evdokimo invited us into the Monastery’s historic dining/sitting room area with an adjacent small kitchen where he skillfully prepared delicious Greek coffee for us . . . that we enjoyed with mastic scented loukoumia, mini bread rusk . . . and a delightful conversation about the Monastery and life in general!

This was a truly memorable and enlightening visit . . . that I will always cherish!

Many thanks Maria for arranging this amazing experience!

Χρονιά Πολλά και του Χρόνου να είμαι στην Άνδρο να γιορτάσουμε μαζί!

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