Just 10 kms from Serres, sitting in a great green valley below Mt Menikion, the Monastery of John the Baptist was founded in 1270 by Ezevon Ioannikos, who later became bishop. The first patriarch of Constantinople, Gennadios Scholarios, took refuge here from 1457 to 1462 after the fall of that city and is entombed at the abbey. A university-level school operated for 300 years, greatly contributing to the preservation of Greek culture. Many important relics were destroyed by Bulgarian troops in 1941. The carved wooden iconostasis dates to 1804. The monastery celebrates the saint’s holy day on August 29th.