Holy Monasteries

Coordinates: 39.317097, 26.338871

Monastery of Taxiarchis Mantamados

At the location Lesvados, north of the town of Mantamados, is one of the greatest pilgrimages nor only of Lesvos, but of Greece as well, dedicated to the patron saint of the island, Taxiarchis Michael (Archangel Michael).

According to tradition, the monastery existed already in the 10th century and towards its end it was attacked by Saracen pirates, who destroyed the facilities and slaughtered the monks. Only a novice monk, Gabriel, survived who made the miraculous icon of Taxiarchis by the blood of the monks and clay. The first historical testimony for the existence of the monastery, however, is a document from 1661 and a nearly contemporaryinscription to the church itself. It is also well known that in the 18th century the old small catholicon was replaced by a new, older church.

The complex resembled a fortress, since it is surrounded by tall buildings and a tower-steeple on the northwestern side. The present day catholicon, which dominated in the area, was constructed in 1879 and belongs to the type of three-aisled basilica.

At its interior a dominant place is occupied by the relief icon of Archangel Michael, unique of its kind, which is kept inside a luxurious canopymade in 1766. At the church they also keep the sakkos and the epitrachelion (liturgical vestments) of the Patriarch Gregory V, at a special spot right of the entrance. The relics were given by the Patriarch himself to his protosyncellus (principal deputy) Porphyrios, who later became Metropolitan of Mytilene. Noteworthy are the small metallic shoes dedicated to the church by the faithful, since according to tradition Taxiarchis wears out his shoes travelling over the island during the night.

The monastery has rooms to host the guests. It celebrates twice a year, on November 8th and on Sunday of the Holy Women, the anniversary of the church’s inauguration. This celebration attracts a great number of pilgrims, since it is accompanied by a large religious and commercial festival and the unique ritual offering of a bull.



10th century

Sunday of the Holy Women, 8 November

Holy Metropolis: 
Mytilini, Eresos and Plomari

Mantamados Lesvos

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