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Holy Monastery of Our Lady of Korifi (mountain top), Kamari

The monastery is located at the village Kamari, of the municipality of Xylokastro-Evrostini, on the road that leads to the mountain top. The road leaves the coast and the valley and climbs to the east at the foothill of the mountain. The entrance to the monastery stands at the end of that spiral road, on the southern slope.

The monastery has a magnificent view to the mountains of Roumeli and the region of Corinthia, from the canal of Isthmos to the town of Akrata. Our Lady of the mountain top was also known as Gonoessa, due to the belief that the ancient town of Donoussa was situated at the same point. Recent investigation denies that claim, but the monastery still keeps the name Gonoessa.

According to the tradition, during the Greek War of Independency the monastery played a significant role in the region, since it operated was the fighter’s base and because it contributed financially to the cause.

The existence of bonds that date to 1750 and the icon depicting Our Lady that bears an inscription indicating 1816 increases the belief that the monastery dates back to before the Greek war of Independence. The actual church was built in 1767, as inscribed on one of the corner stones of the church. In the beginning the monk’s everyday life was difficult because there was no water in the monastery but also no easy access to it. The difficulties caused the transfer of the monastery to a lower region, in large fertile land. The old monastery is referred to as Old Panagia. For many years the new monastery operated as Main Monastery and the upper one as its dependency. In mid-18th century the monks returned to the initial monastery and they are still there.

The entrance gates leads to the precinct dominated by a perennial pine. An arched passageway leads to the monastery reception hall and ends at the flowering courtyard. Next to the reception hall, is an underground water tank that dates back to 1916. Opposite to that lie the cells where one can see the hanging Kopnaos (the wooden semantron). Behind the church at the precinct lies the belfry. The date April, 4 1888 can be seen inscribed on a corner stone. Visitors can rest here in one of the benches.

The katholikon is dedicated to Zoodochos Pigi (the life giving source). It consists of a modern narthex, a main church and the bema. It is a basilica church, its dimensions being 14,40 × 6,54 meters. The carved screenaltar bears an icon of Our Lady holding the infant Jesus that dates back to 1816. The screenaltar along with the bishop’s throne and the Epitaphios consist of unique carved masterpieces of the woodcutter Ioannis Vasileiou, which dates back to 1916. The feast day of the church is on Friday of the Bright Week (week after Easter) and on August 15th.


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