The historic monastery of Saint George Fonias (possibly an altered for of the word Feneos) is located on a dominant position over the artificial lake Doxa, to the northwest of the village Archaia Pheneos. According to an inscription, the monastery was built in 1693, but it had been founded since the 14th century. It was originally built in the location called Palaiomonastiro, on a small peninsula in the lake Doxa where there present lies the small church of Saint Fanourios.
During the Greek War of Independence, the monastery housed the headquarters of the secret organization called Friendly Society (Filiki Eteria) established by bishop Nathanael with the contribution of other bishops from neighboring monasteries. The monastery held the assemblies by the chieftains of Corinth and Arcadia for the organization of the revolution. Thanks to the financial contributions of rich villagers, during the period before the revolution, the monastery was transformed to one of the largest financial powers of Peloponnesus.
The monastery was destroyed in 1740 by a fire and it was restored in 1754. It is a three store monastery with a precinct, in the center of which lies the church of Saint George (15.5×7.5meters). Similar to the old byzantine monasteries, access to the monks’ cells is made through a wooden balcony.
The katholikon (main church) is dedicated to Saint George the Tropeoforos. It is a domed basilica and it contains a magnificent iconostasis that dates back to 1762. The worth visiting 18th century hagiographies of the church, have been painted between 1763 and 1768 by a painter from Giannina, Panayiotis. Among the treasures of the monastery one can admire reliquaries, vestments and other valuable objects.
The entrance is located on the south side and on the lintel there is a depiction of Saint George mounted upon a horse. The dome’s ten sides are decorated by shallow conches. The surface of the dome has lost its imposing appearance due to the coppers foils applied to avoid humidity.
The large wooden chandelier decorated with icons of Athonite art style and the carved gilded altarscreen decorated with scenes from the Old Testament are preserved in a good condition.
The main church is separated by the narthex with a tribelon and it is covered by a cylindrical vault. The narthex and the main church floor are paved with colorful flags while the prenarthex is paved with multi shaped ceramic flags.
A small staircase leads to a small loft that hosted the Secret School during the Ottoman occupation. The worth visiting loft is preserved in a perfect condition.
The visitor will have the chance to admire the magnificent view of the alpine landscape from the monastery’s balcony and at the meantime enjoy the rose petal spoon sweet offered by the monks.