Day tours from Athens to the nearby Greek islands are a great way of discovering more of the region’s illustrious history. This is what makes an Athens one day cruise so appealing, particularly if you get to visit the island of Poros on which the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi is located.
Founded in the early 1700’s, this renowned Monastery can be found about 4 kilometres east of Poros town, in a gorgeously forested area of this picturesque island.
How the Monastery was founded
Historical records tell us that the Monastery was founded by Archbishop Iacovos the 2nd who was reportedly cured of lithiasis after drinking holy water from a nearby spring. Profoundly impacted by this life-saving miracle, the Archbishop proceeded to build the Monastery in the area where the miracle took place.
In 1733 a.d., this religious house was officially recognised as a Monastery under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinopolis Paisios the 2nd. This was further ratified in 1778 a.d. by Patriarch Grigorios the 5th. The official document, duly sealed, evidencing this ratification is housed inside the Monastery.
A refuge during the 1821 Greek Liberation War
The Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi once served as a refuge for soldiers fighting in Greece’s war for independence, with many of the country’s great heroes coming to pray and find spiritual solace there.
Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first Governor of an independent Greece, also founded the country’s first orphanage for children of soldiers who had served during the war. The orphanage was located within the confines of the Monastery, and reportedly housed 180 orphans.
The first Ecclesiastical School was founded in the Monastery in 1830
The first Ecclesiastical School was established at the Monastery by Governor Kapodistrias and had 15 students. Over time, the Monastery went on to draw many people of faith seeking spiritual comfort and solace in prayer. This included several monks who visited and took refuge here.
What you will find at the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi
The main church of the Monastery is a basilica comprised of a dome and tower (belfry). The tombs of war heroes Manolis Tombazis and Nikolaos Apostolis are kept aside the churches vestibule. The church also houses a beautiful 5-meter-high iconostasis that is said to have been crafted in Asia Minor, and other exquisite religious icons including several of the Panagia (Mother Mary), as well as the icon of Christ Pantocrator.
There is a silver oil lamp in front of the icon of the Panagia that is on the right of the iconostasis. It is said to burn in vigil as thanks for the miracle that the Panagia supposedly performed in 1990, when after a long drought spell, it is believed that she listened to the prayers of the church’s religious figures for the rain to return, after which it did.
There is also a sundial attached to the outer south wall of the church which was created by Galaction Galatis, a priest-monk who was once a prior of the Monastery.
Poros is an incredible island with plenty of interesting places to visit, with the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi just one of many. So book your Athens day cruise and get exploring!