Holy Monasteries

Coordinates: 39.679890, 20.872837

Monastery of Agios Nikolaos of Philanthropenoi

The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos of Philanthropenoi is the most important Post Byzantine monastery in Ioannina. It is located at the picturesque settlement of the island in the lake of Ioannina.

The name “Philanthropenoi” has to do with the noble family with the same name, which settled in Ioannina in 1204, after the fall of Constantinople by the Crusaders. It is known also as the “Monastery of Spanos”, whose family during the period of the Turkish occupation (1430-1913) made donations to the Monastery.

The monastery was founded in 1291-1292 by the priest Michael Philanthropenos at a location where another monastery probably existed. In the 16th century, the period of the great flourish, when Neophytos and Ioasaf Philanthropenos were abbots, the Monastery started to be renovated and icons were painted in its catholicon. In the end of the 19th century it seems that it was abandoned and is annexed to the nearby Monastery of Eleousa.

From the initial monastery only the catholicon survives today. Initially it was a wooden-roofed basilica with a narthex (“liti”) on the western side. In the 16th century the wooden roof was replaced by a barrel-vault and the exonarthex and the side narthexes were added. So, the monument took the form of a three-aisled basilica with elevated the central aisle. 

Particularly important are the wall paintings of the catholicon which belong to the so-called school of the “Northwest Greece”. They date from the 16th century and are the work of the best painters from Thebes, like Frangos Katelanos and the brothers Georgios and Frangos Kontaris. Among the themes there are scenes from the life of Christ, Virgin Mary and Agios Nikolaos, scenes from the Old Testament and martyrdoms of saints. Interesting is the wall painting of the sevens wise men of ancient Greece at the southern exonarthex.  

Nowadays, the monastery is perhaps the most important sight at the island of the lake of Ioannina, while the church is open only certain times a year.





Holy Metropolis: 

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Ioannina

Island of Ioannina

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