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The Visitable Monasteries of Askio


The Visitable Monasteries of Askio

The Monastery Koimiseos tis Theotokou of Mikrokastro

The monastery Koimiseos tis Theotokou at Mikrokastro is Voio’s largest and the center of intellectual and social activity of the Metropolis of Sisani and Siatista.

Its history begins in the early 19th century. It initially functioned as a pilgrimage temple, but later with the addition of further edifices was turned into a monastery. During Turkish rule, it paid the teachers of surrounding villages and served as a place of resort for the prosecuted, the poor and the miserable.

The monastery’s main temple is covered in murals of Byzantine art. Its greatest treasure is the protecting icon of Panagia Eleousa (Eleousa Mother Mary) which is mentioned as early as the 15th century.

The monastery became a female convent in 1993. The new sisterhood, consisting of 20 nuns, has an organized common life and works in the intellectual improvement of the area. On the day of the celebration of the monastery, crowds gather to observe the peculiar custom of Kavalarides (horsemen) of Siatista.


The Monastery of Agios Athanasios of Eratyra

The monastery is located 2 km from Eratyra, on the foot of Siniatsiko, at an altitude of 900 meters. It was probably built before 1600 and began to prosper after 1700. It has undergone many disasters in its history, from fires or raids. After the great disaster of 1794, it was renovated. It was then that Koulia was built, a structure with high, thick walls and crenellations, which served as a resort.

Its temple has a wood-carven chancel screen, which covers its entire height and width. There also used to be an extensive library here with many manuscripts, many of which can now be found in the National Library.


The Monastery of Metamorfosi tou Sotiros in Dryovouno

 The prospering male monastery is located a few kilometers above Dryovouno, at a secluded area. Its foundation goes back to 1592, while the murals were completed in 1652, by painter Nikolaos from Linotopi while the narthex in particular is the work of Argyris Kriminiotis. Kosmas Aitolos arrived here and, after preaching, treated the monks who had been taken ill due to an epidemic. He fetched water from a nearby spring, blessed it, and gave it to the monks to drink, who were then cured. This water has been considered holy ever since and a chapel devoted to saint Kosmas has been constructed at the spring.

At wartime, the monastery offered valuable services to the local population. It served as storage for ammunition and as base for various chieftains. This is where Dimitrios Feraios, Kapetan Vardas and Pavlos Melas resorted to. In 1943 it was set on fire by Italians along with its historic records. Its renovation began in 1996, the prime mover being Archbishop Stefanos Rinos with the personal efforts of monks and believers. The parvis offers a sense of tranquility and a spectacular view to Voio and Kastoria.


The Monastery of Koimiseos tis Theotokou in Sisani 

 The female monastery is located on the opposite side of the banks of river Myrihos, just 2 km from Sisani, in an area that does not make it easily discernible. The date of its foundation is not known with certainty, as it is connected to the ancient seat of Voio, Sisanioupoli, as it is exactly next to it. It was probably built on the ruins of an older temple and then evolved into a monastery. The erection of the newer temple was probably in 1762. It is located in the south part of the entire complex and is semi-underground.

It has a wooden roof and is generally austere, with a low height and no windows. Its chancel screen is simple and painted with elements from the plant and animal kingdoms. Its icons were painted by Georgios Emmanouil from Eratyra and funded by priest Theophanis. In its entrance is encased a marble Roman plaque of years 146 and 147 A.C., where names of young athletes are inscribed.


The Monastery of Agia Paraskevi of Domavisti

The monastery is perched at an altitude of 950 meters on the foot of Siniatsiko, near Namata. It was founded in the early 14th century. The first temple was probably destroyed and in its position another one was built in the early 1500, which is preserved to this day. It is Voio’s oldest monastery and place of worship for the inhabitants of Namata and Pelekanos.

The murals are probably works of artists from Linotopi and are dated in the early 1600. In the same period the gilded wood-carven chancel screen was constructed, the work of artisans from Epirus.

During its life, the monastery has met with disaster many times. Only in the period 1800-1840 it was burned and raided by the Turks 4 times, while in 1875, after the raid, all its monks were slaughtered. The monastery’s ordeals do not end here, as in November 27, 1944 the German troops raided, robbed and burned it, but, miraculously the temple was not burned, only the supporting buildings. With efforts from Metropolitan Antonios and help from benefactor Mihail Gkanas from Namata, it was restored in 2001.


The Monastery of Agios Panteleimonas in Vlasti

Just over Vlasti, on a slope of Mouriki, we find the monastery of Agios Panteleimonas. Its location is imposing, with a spectacular view and a breathtaking altitude. It is built at 1,550 meters, which makes it one of Greece’s highest monasteries.

It was reinstated in its present form in 2005, funded exclusively by the bishop of the Patriarchy of Jerusalem Damaskinos Gkagkanaras, who is descended from Vlasti. Its brotherhood is composed of monks of the Orthodox church of Romania. There also used to be chapel here, from 1848.

During its celebration there is a great feast and the entire Vlasti is in excitement. Early in the morning, villagers set out on foot or on horseback to ascend the slope. The celebration climaxes in the afternoon, when there is dancing in the valleys.




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