The Monastery Of Makellarias
The monastery is located on the right bank of the river Selinountas, opposite the village Lapanagoi of Municipality of Kalavryta, 30 kilometres from the city of Kalavrita and it is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The Monastery which was built in 532 AD by strategist of Makellaria, as shown by an inscription which still exists, in order to atone from slaughter during the famous “Stasi of Nika” in Istanbul.
In the centre of the Monastery it is the Panagia Makelarias, which is a small Byzantine church with a beautiful wooden-carved screen, on which it is placed the icon of the Virgin. This is an authentic Byzantine art piece, with a distinctive feature because wherever you stand, the Virgin’s eyes give you the impression that they follow you. The monastery was destroyed by the Turks in 1458 and renovated by the monk Neophytos.
The original name of the monastery was the Virgin Mary Lithostrotiotisa, because it is built on a rock. The name “Makelaria” was given to the Monastery during the carnage that took place when the Turks attempted to conquer it in 1458. After many days of siege Turks occupied the monastery and kill the monks and their minions who were there.
After the disaster the fathers decided to build the monastery in a cave below in order to be protected from the weather. The people of the workshop which undertook its construction, they found every morning the buildings damaged and their tools on a rock that nowadays the monastery located.
Following discussions and disagreements they decided to build the monastery at the place where their materials and tools were. During the building they found an earthen pot with oil, which survives until today, and the image of the Virgin.
Next time that the Turks attack the monastery, according to tradition, the Turks repelled by the monks and their minions who were there and moreover the abbot of the monastery made an agreement with the general of the Turks, that “if he throw to the rock a candle and it break, then they will surrender but if it does not break, you will leave without burning the monastery”. So it happened, the abbot threw the candle of the Virgin into the rock, and the Turkish soldiers found it hanging from a branch of a tree and so they left without burning the monastery.
The most valuable treasure is the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary and the miraculous jar of oil. Also cloves, cutlass, guns chieftains and brave youths of the famous battle of Kafkarias with which defeated Ibrahim in 1827 and uniforms of the fighters of 1821.
Important relics of the monastery have been stolen from the robbery that took place in September 1980, which consisted of:
The “Axranta Pathoi” Τ’ that includes a Kition handmade gold wire woven in Russia. 7 years had to passed in order to make it. Byzantine art, housed in the piece from the crown of thorns, a piece of mantle pieces and precious wood and sponge.
Gold-plated and gold reliquary with relics of 150 saints.
Holy Gospels and gilt silver, 15th and 16th century.
Pictures portable 16th and 17th century.
Handmade gold-embroidered uniforms from Russia.
It is worth mentioning that a short distance from the Monastery, following a small “serpentine” path leads the visitor to the small church of the Transfiguration of Sotiros. It is made in a small cave a little lower than the present monastery. All year flow from the rock “holy water”.