Historic Temples

Coordinates: 37.137193, 21.926734

Church of Zoodochos Pigi (Monastery of Samarina)

At a beautiful, green area, approximately 25 km northwest of Kalamata, between the villages Kalogerorachi and Ellinoekklisia, is one of the most beautiful; and well preserved Byzantine monuments of the Peloponnese, the church of Zoodochos Pigi (Life Giving Source). The name Samarina (and Samari for Ellinoekklisia) came from the corruption of the Latin Santa Marie or, according to another view, because the church was dedicated to Osia Maria the Egyptian.

It was built in the 12th century and was the catholicon of the women’s monastery which is considered to be founded by Andronikos II Palaiologos in honor of Patriarch Athanasius I, who came from Androusa. From the monastery survive today only the ruins of cells, the cistern and one cemetery church nearby.

Architecturally the church belongs to the type of cross-in-square church with a dome supported by two columns. During later stages they added the narthex, with the open portico on the western side, and the bell tower, which is considered Frankish, in the 13th century. on the northern side there is a porch with columns, whole a similar configuration existed in the other side of the church.

The walls are built very carefully, at the lower part with large rectangular stones that came from ancient buildings, and the upper part according to cloisonné system, with rich ceramic decoration.

At the interior of the church there are impressive wall paintings of the so-called «academic trend” of Late Komnenian painting, with characteristic the monumental representations of Christ’s life. The full figures of the saints on the southern wall date from the 14th-15th century. Of particular interest is the sculpted decoration at the church’s interior, the work of the famous sculpture workshop that is called “of Samarina” by the researchers, and was active in the area during the second half of the 12th century, as well as the floor with the opus sectile, which survives partly.

The monastery today Is without nuns, and it is the metochi of the Monastery of Voulkano and celebrates on Bright Friday.



12th century


Bright Friday

Holy Metropolis: 

Under the Supervision of:
Ephorate of Antiquities of Messinia


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