Holy Monasteries

Coordinates: 38.002800, 23.836710

Monastery of Agios Ioannis Kynigos (Philosophers Monastery)

At a flat area on a wooded hill, on the northern edge of mount Hymettus, at a strategic location with a panoramic view to Athens and the plain of Mesogeia, is the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Kynigos (St John the Hunter). It is also known as the Monastery of the Baptist, or the Philosophers or the Hunter of Philosophers, names that are related to its founder, member of the family of Philosophos, which, like the family of Lambardoi, owned the Monastery of Philosophos in Dimitsana.

It was founded in the beginning of the 12th century, when a monk of the monastery in Gortynia with the same name settled in Athens. It was dedicated to the memory of the Baptist, as the monastery of Gortynia, and took the name “Philosophers”, due to the origin of his founder. The name “Hunter of Philosophers” seems to be due to Vasileios Kynigos (means hunter in Greek), member of the same family, who served as an abbot of the monastery and also came from the Monastery of Philosophos. This is confirmed by a ltter from the Metropolitan of Athens, Michael Choniates to Vasileios Philosophos and relevant surviving inscriptions. In the beginning of the 13th century the monastery was renovated. In the period of the Turkish occupation (1456-1833) it continued to operate and it was dissolved in 1833 with a law by the Regency of Otto.

The complex is surrounded by a four-sided precinct. From the initial monastery what survive are the catholicon and the pylon of the main entrance on the western side of the precinct. The catholicon belongs to the type of the two-columned cross-in-square church with an octagonal dome. In the 17th century they added a spacious narthex on its western side. In the 18th century they added an open arched portico on the southern side.

The external sides of the church are characterized by austerity. They have incorporated ancient and Old Christian architectural members, while the characteristic Byzantine cloisonné masonry is limited to the arcade of the altar area and the dome. The church’s interior is decorated with wall paintings that date mainly to the 17th, 18th, and 19th century. Very few fragments of Byzantine wall paintings from the 13th-14th century survive at the main church and the altar area. The marble screen, which was restored in the 1960s, dates from the beginning of the 13th century.

Nowadays it is a women’s cenobic monastery and it celebrates on the 29th of August.



start of the 12th century

29th of August

Holy Metropolis: 
Mesogeia and Lavreotiki

Glyka Nera 15354

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