Church/Monastery in Fokida


The Byzantine Monastery of Panagia Varnakova or Holy Virgin Mary is one of the grander and more important ones in the prefecture, situated on Mount Vardoussia some 20 kilometers away from Efpalio. It was built in 1077 AD was a pillar of Hellenism during a time with the Catholic church hoped to convert the Orthodox. It also played a part in protecting those who escaped from the holocaust of Mesolongi in 1826, so did the monastery of Agios Ioannis of Thermes. Today, chestnut trees and a serene mountainous environment await visitors there.
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Some 7 kilometres northwest of Chrisso lies the Monastery of Profitis Ilias, at an elevation of 400 meters. It boasts a view of the bountiful olive groves of Amfissa, as well as Galaxidi, the Gulf of Corinth and the Peloponnese mountains across the Gulf.
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Started by a group of nuns in 1991, the Monastery of Saint Nektarios is a relatively young monastery, secluded in the mountains, on the road to lovely Dorida right before the village of Trikorfo.
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This church is known for its solar calendar in its roof, a zodiac cycle embedded in its floor and unique sundial in its forecourt, a rarity in churches that here reflects the maritime overtones of the town.
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The tradition of monasteries continues in modern times with the recent construction of this magnificent masterpiece, the monastery of Agios Augustinos and Agios Serafim of Sarof, in the village of Trikorfo. It boasts the largest belfry in the world, with 60 bells and 400 gongs ringing loud and captivating listeners.
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Desfina boasts the historic monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos which like others in the region played an important part in the struggle for independence.
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In Galaxidi, the church of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) is well known for its carved icon screen made from wood.
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In Amfissa enthusiasts of Orthodox and Byzantine churches must visit the Annunciation Cathedral with its painted murals by Spiros Papaloukas, as well as the Sotiros Byzantine Church from the 11th or 12th century.
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In Kirra, there is the small church of Ioannis Prodromos (or John the Baptist) is well known for its thermal spring or 'Agioneri' which is said to help alleviate stomach problems.
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Also in Efpalio the old church of the Ascension of the Savior in Nea Koukoura and the small monastery of Agios Ioannis of Efpalio, constructed in an original Byzantine technique, are worth seeing.
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The Church of the Taxiarchs, built in the 12th century, is found on the grounds of Agios Charalambos church and features impressive if partly incomplete wall paintings.
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The Monastery of Ioannis Prodromos in Desfina overlooks the plateau and features awe-inspiring hagiography. Also in Desfina and more on the lower side of the plateau the church of the Taxiarchs features hagiography that supposedly protected the rebels of the Greek revolution.
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The Monastery of Ioannis Vaptistis (John the Baptist) in Artotina, high on Mount Vardoussia, played an important role in the War of Independence, where hero Athanasios Diakos said his vows before marching into battle. Today it is a very serene place set in nature, beside the E4 hiking path.
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A relatively older monastery than others in the area, Kemessis Theotokou Panassaris (Dormition of Virgin Mary) in Gravia was built in 1517. Now an old landmark that is hosts many local feasts and celebrations, the monastery also played a role in sheltering Greek resistance fighters during the war.
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Overlooking the Gulf of Corinth, the Monastery of Metamorphosis Tou Sotira or Transfiguration is the epitome of Byzantine monasteries, complete with old hagiography inside and a picnic ground outside.
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On a peak of Mount Giona near Prosilio, the Monastery of the Virgin Mary is an attractive post-Byzantine structure with traditional hagiography. It offers a great visit when combined with a hiking trip.
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Near Polydrossos here is a worthy Byzantine church of Palaiopanagia (also known as Mavromantila or Agia Eleousa). This is a cruciform church of a rare architectural style, with ruins of an ancient temple possibly dedicated to the three graces (treis charites).
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In the village of Amigdalia (meaning Almond Tree) situated in the hills above Eratini lies the historic monastery of the Panayia Koutsoufou, a more remote religious locale compared to others in the region. The monastery was restored recently, and the view on to the Gulf of Corinth is surreal.
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In Sykia the inspiring little church of Zooodohos Pigi lies in a cave, where a small pond and icons add to the mystique and sacredness of this intriguing place.
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