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25/01/2008
THE LAKE PAMVOTIS AND THE ISLAND/ CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS

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St. Nicholaos ton Philanthropinon or Spanos Monastery: The jewel of a great art school

On a small hill, southwest of the community, a well shaped path leads to one of the most important monuments of Byzantine culture: St. Nicholaos ton Philanthropinon or Spanos Monastery. The monastery is linked to the great family of the Philanthropini who went to Ioannina after the capture of Constantinople by the Franks. Michael Philanthropinos, a priest and treasurer of Ioannina Cathedral in 1291-2 renovated the monastery. A fresco in the narthex depicts Michael, Georgios, Makarios, Neofytos, Mattheos Philanthropini with a note of their date of death. The monastery was partially rebuilt in the 16th century when hagiographies were painted in the area of the congregation. Of the three phases of the decoration of the church, the first is dated to about 1530-32 and involved the surfaces of the main church and the pulpit and the Genesis of the vault. The painter is unknown. He is a master of his art, which bears intense characteristics of the Cretan school and the age of the Paleologi. There are also discernible influences of Western art (see the composition of the infanticide, which copies a chalcography of the work of the same name by Raphael). In 1542, at the expense of the abbot Ioasaf Philanthropinos, a very cultivated person, the vault of the church was decorated (Christ Pantokrator) and the narthex (the realistic representation of the martyrdom of the saints is impressive). This scene was considered by many researchers a work of the famous hagiographer Frangos Katelanos. In 1560 at the expense of Iosaf and his students (it seems that a kind of school operated in the monastery), an outer narthex was added in the western side and two narthexes on the northern and southern sides of the church. The depiction of the Genesis on the Western outer narthex with Adam giving names to the animals is charming and original. The depiction of the Psalms is also superb. What impresses visitors most is the themes of the southern outer narthex with the dantesque representation of the Final Judgement and the unexpected presence of the Ancient Greek wise men Solon, Aristotle, Ploutarch, Thucydides, and Hilonas. The creators of the third phase are possibly Georgios and Frangos Kontaris, also representatives of the “School of Northwestern Greece,” the most brilliant example of the school being the monastery.
*architecture, hagiography, monastery, school of northwestern Greece


St. Nicholaos Stratigopoulos or Dilios Monastery

At a small distance from Philanthropinon Monastery, St. Nicholaos Stratigopoulos or Dilios Monastery, founded by the Constantinople family of the same name following 1204, maintains the area of the congregation and the cells – which are in ruins – in its stone yard. The monks Nifon and Sofronios paid in the middle of the 16th century for the production of the hagiographies. In the 17th century benefactors from the Dilios family gave the monument its second name. The area of the congregation, a church with a single space, a wooden roof and irregular stones with rows of bricks in between is a humble work of art of Byzantine artisanship. The painter here is also not known, but the old master who developed his own style, drawing from the East (miniatures of Byzantine manuscripts) and West (late Gothic and Rennaissance art), north (Kastoria), and south (Cretan school) with daring and hard work.
*architecture, hagiography, monastery


Eleousis Monastery

A high enclosure at the foothills of the vegetated hill, next to the lake encloses protectively the Eleousis monastery. Originally dedicated to St. Nicholaos ton Anemon it bore the name of Gioumati, a large family of fur traders from Venice who financially supported the monastery. The change of the dedication is linked with the history of the city of Ioannina. At the end of the 16th century, the church of St. Paraskevi, (where today the building of the Prefectural Government of Ioannina is located), was remade into a mosque. Pious Christians collected the portable icons of the church among which was the icon of the Virgin Eleousa and as a consequence it was lost for some years. In 1584 the nun Parthenia found the icon and took it to the St. Nicholaos monastery, since called Eleousis Monastery. According to the inscription on the western door of the narthex, the present area of the congregation is the result of the works of 1724-48. The narthex of 1759 was decorated by the painter of Kapesovo Anastasios. The monastery had its acme from the 19th century until 1922. In 1872 abbot Avvakoum founded the Hieratical School in an extension of the Metamorfosi monastery. The frescoes of the first building phase of the area of the congregation are ascribed to the workshop of the Kontari brothers. Among the treasures of the monastery are many Venetian editions and interesting treasures.
*architecture, hagiography, monastery


The Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Saviour

The present day church was built in 1850 at the expense of the abbot of the Eleousis Monastery Avvakoum. A three isle basilica with a sheltered verandah, it was covered with hagiographies by the monk Anthimos of Mount Athos and bears the unmistakable stamp of western art. The perforated plant decoration of the wooden iconostasis stands apart.
*monastery, iconostasis

The Profitis Ilias Monastery

At the highest point of the island, a humble little church of the 19th century stands in the place of the monastery of Ottoman times which was destroyed by the Sultan’s army in 1822. Elements of the old area of the congregation have been incorporated in the new area of the congregation, built with stone without aches. The paintings are from 1833 (sanctuary by the painter of Ioannina Theodosios and his son Constantinos) and 1918 (main church by the the painter of Hionaditi Polykarpos Anastasiou).
*monastery, hagiography

St. Panteleimonas Monastery

The monastery was fatal for Ali Pasha: the building of the 15th century was destroyed in 1800 by the falling of a large rock. Ali made a rich resident of Ioannina repair the church. Following 22 years, he found a tragic death in one of the cells of the same monastery, where today the museum of the pre-revolutionary period is located. The area of the congregation, a small basilica, built with stone and mortar not using arches. Fragments of frescoes form a decoration without depictions.

*monastery, architecture, Ali Pasha