Holy Monasteries

Coordinates: 37.116714, 22.479097

Monastery of the Holy Forty Martyrs

At a beautiful, green location near Chrysafa, approximately 8 km northwest of Sparta, is one of the most important monasteries in Lakonia, dedicated to Holy Forty Martyrs.

It was founded in 1305 a little bit higher, at the gorge of the stream of Sofronis, and was transferred to the present day location in the beginning of the 17th century. At the old monastery the church has been constructed inside a natural formed cave and was painted by Constantine Manasses. Initially at the present day location were only the fields and its warehouses, but gradually the area became a metochi, and finally it became the main building of the complex, mainly due the problems in the provision of goods and the safety of the monks. The monastery became a stauropegic one in the 16th century and had several privileges, which allowed it to evolve into an important intellectual centre. In 1770 it was torched by the Turco-Albanians and was abandoned, but it operated again in the years of the Revolution of 1821, and it proved to make a significant contribution to supplies and food. It was torched again in 1826 by Ibrahim, and in 1943 by the Germans.

Externally it has the form of a fortress with a tall precinct shaped by the complexes of the cells and the auxiliary areas. At the centre of the yard is the catholicon, a cross-in-square church with a dome, which was built in 1620. In its masonry there is a lot ceramic decoration and incorporated ancient architectural members, while its interior is richly decorated. The wall paintings, of 1620, are the work of Georgios Moschos, famous painter of the Cretan School from Nafplio. Next to the catholicon is the chapel of Zoodochos Pigi (Life Giving Source) which dates from 1707 and is said to host the underground, secret school in the years of the Turkish Occupation. Also interesting are the older buildings of the monastery, like the refectory, which had wall paintings, the fotanamma, and the tower which had initially four floors. The monastery has an excellent library, relics and rare documents that are exhibited at its museum. It is a men’s monastery and celebrates on the 9th of March.


Contact phone:


17th century


9 March

Holy Metropolis: 
Monemvasia and Sparta

Chrysafa Sparta 232100



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