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Culture Christian monuments Epirus Lakka Souli

External A view of the Monastery of Sistrouni, in Lakka Souli
(Photo: Nikos Desillas, Epirus an Aesthetic Wander Through a Greek Region, Synolo Publications, 1998, Athens)
A view of the Monastery of Sistrouni, in Lakka Souli
(Photo: Nikos Desillas, Epirus an Aesthetic Wander Through a Greek Region, Synolo Publications, 1998, Athens)

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Christian monuments: Subtopics All topics

31/01/2008
LAKKAS SOULIOU REGION/CHRISTIAN MONUMENTS

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- Alepohori Botsari Monastery:
At Alepohori Botsari, downhill from the central square, the parish church of Panaghia tis Stogeris is the area of the congregation of an old monastery of 1764 which was dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin. A part of the foundations of the wall and the cells is preserved in the present day at the village square. The area of the congregation is a three isle basilica with a sheltered verandah at the southern wall. The priest Konstantinos, a capable artist from Fortosi of Katsanohoria, an area that nourished a school of hagiographers, has covered the interior with artful hagiographies that were completed in 1784. The donor was the robber Diamantis Spatoulas, who requested as was once the custom, to have his own portrait as part of the decoration.
A brave foustanella-wearing man poses on the first column of the church facing the southern entrance with the inscription; “he was compulsorily painted”. It has been declared a listed monument.
*architecture, monastery, church, hagiography, portrait of the commissioner of the building - robber, listed monument

- Assumption of the Virgin Ahladeas Monastery (Toskesi):
At a distance of 4 km from the public road Vargiades – Derviziana the monastery of the Virgin Toskesi is an ornament on the left bank of Aherontas, that flows among the high plane trees beneath the austere-looking Tomaros mountains. The location is excellent and the monument is of rare beauty. The combination of white stone and black slate (roof), hermetically closed to the outside world (the windows of the dome and the conch of the sanctuary are slits), two entrances, one for men and one for women (leading to the women’s area), the area of the congregation of 1714 or 1772 was superbly decorated in 1810 by the priest Konstantinos and his two sons Ioannis and Hristodoulos. The sculpted woodcut iconostasis is impressive, as is the pulpit and the prelatic throne. Two cells have been preserved. One is used as a guest room and the other is a museum. The ossuary of 1889, a cistern for rain water and an old bell have also been preserved. A large stock-farming unit, with a large property that reached to Nikolitsi of Preveza, the Toskesi monastery had its own sheep cots (“stani vakoufiki” location west of the monastery) and a flour mill powered by the waters of the Lipa river. It supported the village school and healed the mentally ill with the famous log of the Virgin. The monastery was a center of all the cultural and social events of Lakka Souliou, which is the reason why the fete of 15 August was very important for residents of the region and people who emigrated.
*architecture, monastery, hagiography, economy, education, fete

- The Virgin of Labovo Church (Ahladea):
At a small distance of the Virgin of Toskesi is a small single isle basilica of the 14th century, dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin, which has recently been renovated on private initiative with the supervision of the 8th Supervising Committee of Byzantine Antiquities. There are interesting hagiographies here. The church has three doors (north, west, south). The doors of the northern and southern sides are called sheep or goat doors, because through those doors the stock-farmers led in and out their livestock in a special liturgy for the health of their flocks.
*architecture, church, hagiography, liturgy for flocks

- St. Paraskevi Toskesi Monastery (Ahladea):
Some 3 km from the Vargiades – Georgani road, on the right bank of the Toskesitios or Lakkiotikos river (Lakkiotikos Aherontas) a monastery of 1905 conceals a romantic story. A teenage girl, a little clairvoyant, fell down a cliff, and was unharmed. She said her salvation was a wonder and decided to lead a hermit’s life in a hay barn next to the old ruin of the St. Paraskevi chapel. “Sanctified” made a saint while she was alive she persuaded the local residents to build a monastery at her hermitage, where at her suggestion and following excavation a wooden icon of St. Paraskevi was found. The sickly Lambrini Yiannaki, as the youth was called, enjoyed it two years. She died in 1907 at the age of 21. Her successor, a lay person this time, built a reception room, an oven, storehouses, 3 cells and established an oregano oil workshop - because the area is full of oregano - and a kiosk. Thanks to the oregano oil the monastery acquired large movable and immovable property at Toskesi and Ioannina. In 1920 the monastery acquired a flour mill, which in 1938 it granted to the school fund of Ahladea. The monastery was seriously damaged in 1943 by rival partisan groups of the national resistance who lived there either as prisoners or as prison guards, since the area of the congregation was turned into a detention centre. A renovation in 1954 gave the building its old appearance.
*architecture, monastery, history, economy

- St. Paraskevi Monastery of Valanidia:
Facing the Valanidia village (shortly before the first houses of the village, on the left side of the road), a hill with a beautiful view is the site of St. Paraskevi, the old area of the congregation of a monastery that was burned for an unknown reason in 1831, and rebuilt and decorated with hagiographies in 1832. The bellfry of the northern side is a modern addition. The monastery had a lot of property and an elementary school for local children. It was renovated in 2006-7.
*architecture, church, hagiography, addition

- St. Paraskevi Georganon Monastery:
On the public road leading from Ahladea to Derviziana, the area of the congregation of the old monastery of St. Paraskevi Georganon is a single isle basilica with a tiled roof, and notable hagiographies of 1800, which suffered because of the use of the monument in the civil war 1946-49.
*architecture, church, frescoes, history

- Mesianon Monastery:
At the border of the Preveza and Ioannina prefectures, at the location of the same name, down hill from the Derviziana-Meliana road, the Mesianon monastery was renovated in 1987 at the expense and through the personal work of a married couple of citizens. The basilica with a cross shaped roof of the preserved area of the congregation with the hagiographies of Ioannis Theodorou of Lozetsi (modern day Elliniko) Katsanohorion and Ioannis Nitsos of Kapesovo Zagoriou was completed in 1764. Forests, olive groves (at Dara Lourou), pasture land and livestock comprised the property of the monastery, which in 1878 founded the Secondary School of Derviziana, which it maintained in addition to the school of Fousatsia. It is dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul and celebrates on 29 June. It is a listed monument.
*architecture, church, hagiographer, economy, education, fete, listed monument

- St. Dimitrios Dervizianon Monastery:
Hidden from view among the hollies on a small hill, the area of the congregation of the old monastery of St. Dimitrios Dervizianon is a single isle small basilica built as usual of stone, with a tile roof. Its hagiographies, which are plain and simple, have suffered great wear because of contact with humans. It seems that the dust and the colour of the eyes of the saints healed, according to sources, sicknesses of the eyes and other ills. The ruins of cells witness the existence in the past of the monastery. The monument is located at a small distance from the St. Apostolon monastery.
*architecture, monastery, hagiographer

- Monastery of the Virgin Katamahis:
From a densely vegetated hill Virgin Katamahis monastery offers a view of the surrounding mountains, surrounded by its half destroyed enclosure. Dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin it was built in 1830. The area of the congregation, a church with a tile roof and a dome, has not been decorated. It had a lot of property in the past, and gave a salary to the teacher of the neighbouring Artopoula. It was renovated in 2006-7. You may reach it from Artopoula, by car or on foot (30’ there and back).
*architecture, monastery, economy

- St. Dimitrios Bourelesias Monastery (Koumaria):
Improvised excavations at the area of the Bourelesias monastery have brought to light columns, shields, counters, sculpted crosses, all remains of the old monastery which was destroyed in 1611, the year of the uprising of Dionysios the Philosopher. The monastery was the dependency of the Dihouniou monastery. The destroyed luxury area of the congregation was replaced in 1861 by a humble single aisle basilica decorated by a hagiographer whose name is not even mentioned.
It is dedicated to St. Dimitrios.
*architecture, church, hagiography, history

- Romanou Monastery:
A well preserved complex, built in 1866, down hill from the Romanos village, it is a living witness of a wealthy monastery with a wide reaching influence, perhaps the most important monastery of Lakka Souliou. The well looked after area of the congregation of the monastery with an outer narthex, plain hagiographies and the woodcut iconostasis owes its existence to a strong personality: abbot Parthenios A’ who dramatically increased the income of the monastery, founded two schools, one in Romanos and one in Sistrouni, built a bridge (Sistrouni), gave a dowry to poor girls and organised a soup kitchen for poor people, that were also offered after his death (1890) until 1926. The monastery is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ and celebrates with a fete on 6 August. It is a listed monument.
*architecture, monastery, hagiographies, listed building

- Strounis Monastery:
Next to the second biggest spring of Aherontas river, shortly before Sistrouni, to the right of the Ardosi – Sistrouni road, the monastery of the Birth of the Virgin of Strouni (Sistrouni) was founded in 1156, destroyed for an unknown reason and rebuilt on the left bank of the Strouniotikos river (a branch of Arahthos river). Ancient plane trees, walnut trees, olive trees and wild roses with a high stone stone-built wall keep the old area of the congregation, a three isle basilica, with a dome and a well balanced sheltered verandah, hidden from view. The main church is divided by 6 columns into three isles. Over each isle on the sides are 4 internal vaults, while in the centre there are 3 vaults and a dome. The iconostasis is built in. The hagiographies are especially interesting. The artist and the date of construction of the basilica are not known since the building inscription is illegible. The monastery celebrates on 9 September and is a listed monument. In the pronaos of the area of the congregation a “blana” is kept, which is a primitive olive oil press.
*architecture, monastery, church, economy, hagiography, listed building


Listed Christian churches:
- Assumption of the Virgin church at the Kambos site and
- St. Nicholaos church and surrounding wall at the Sykiras location at Zeriziana.
- Birth of the Virgin church (17th century) at Alepohori Botsari.
- St. Athanasios church at the Lykoursi location in Romanos.
- Prophitis Ilias and St. Dimitrios church at Platania.


Churches:
- Ι. Assumption of the Virgin Church at Anthohori:
Three isle basilica of 1934.

- Ι. St. Nicholaos Church at Anthohori:
It is a single space chapel at the Koulouria location. It was built on the ruins of an older church, and bears the builders inscription of 1819.

- Ι. Church of the Transfiguration of Christ Aghios Andreas (Liviahovou):
It is a single space wooden roofed church, with a semi-circular arch and a closed sheltered verandah on the southern side. The stones of the building are layed lengthwise. The main church, with the exception of the arch, which may belong to an older building, was built in 1751 and decorated in 1753.

- Ι. St. Nicholaos Church of Aghios Nicholaos:
The church of 1878 with a wide narthex on the western side and a sheltered verandah on the northern side.

- Ι. Assumption of the Virgin Church at Koumaria:
Three isle basilica with a dome and a four sided slanted roof. On the southern and western sides there was formerly a sheltered verandah, which in the present day is in ruins. The church of full of hagiographies of the second half of the 18th century.

- Ι. St. Dimitrios Church at Koumaria:
An old dependency of the Dihouniou church, the church with small dimensions is covered with frescoes of 1861.

- Ι. St. Nicholaos Church of Zotiko:
According to the inscription above the door of the southern entrance, the church was built in 1912. It is a large, wooden roofed basilica, with a wide elevated narthex on the western side.