Holy Monasteries

Coordinates: 40.066100, 20.586291

Monastery of Panagia Molyvdoskepastos

Next to the Greek-Albanian borders, near the spot where the river Aoos unites with Sarantaporos, is the famous Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, one of the oldest and more beautiful of Epirus. It is rather known as the Monastery of Molyvdoskepastos, due to the leaves of lead (molyvdos in Greek) that cover the roof of its catholicon.

According to an inscription that survives at the catholicon, the monastery was founded in the 7th century by the Byzantine emperor Constantine IV Pogonatos. It was renovated in the beginning of the 14th century by Andronikos Komnenos Doukas Palaiologos, grandson of the despot of Epirus Michael II Komnenos Doukas, and later, in 1521, by the people of Pogoniani. In the beginning it was a stauropegic monastery – that is, it was directly under the authority of the Patriarchate – and flourished a lot, something that climaxed in the 16th century, period in which they renovated it. It had significant property and metochia even in Romania, while its areas hosted a school, a workshop for manuscripts and an excellent library. Gradually, from the 17th century it started to decline and in 1848 it was abandoned for good. In 1943 it was bombed by the German army and the cell complex was partly destroyed.

The monastery is surrounded by a tall precinct with two-storey cell complexes and still looks like a fortress. The catholicon has a rather tall dome and its walls are built with stone slabs which alternate with bricks and are decorated with ceramic elements and walled-in vessels. During the renovations of the monastery there were additions to the initial building and two chapels were annexed.

The interior of the church is covered by wall paintings that date from the 16th century (1521 and 1537), which some fragments from the decoration from the 14th century still survive. A rare example of Late Byzantine woodcarving is the two-panel door of the 14th century, which is decorated by relief colorized representations places in six frames. From the excellent relics of the monastery what stands out is the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus.

It is a men’s monastery and it celebrates on the 15th of August.



7th century


15th of August

Holy Metropolis: 
Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konitsa

Under the Supervision of: 
Archaeological Service of Ioannina

Konitsa 44100

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