Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Holy Monastery of Strofades and St Dionysios Chapel Museum



The Holy Monastery’s new Museum is housed in the elevated basement of the Holy Monastery of Strofades and St Dionysios new wing, which was inaugurated on the 12th November 2000. The Museum itself has been built as a place of cultural and historical remembrance. The museum houses many important icons and numerous relics of Christian art, primarily from the Holy Monastery. 





The current exhibition’s treasures, sacred relics, paintings, old manuscripts, liturgical vestments and holy icons are all testimony of the significant spirituality of the Holy Monastery of Strofades.
The islands of Strofades are situated at a distance of 42 nautical miles south of Zakynthos. The monastery is situated on the North East end of the largest island. The sacred monastery of Strofades is devoted to the Virgin Mary Panton Hara, due to the miraculous icon which existed there. According to historian L. Zoe the monastery was built by the Emperor Theodore A’ Laskari and his daughter Irene Paleologene (1241). It was restored by the emperor Ioannis Paleologos in 1440. The monastery was damaged by pirate attacks in 1479, 1530, 1537, 1538. In 1717 the monastery was completely ruined by the Turk pirate Moustis. The body of St. Dionysios was desecrated, many valuable items were removed and 24 monks were captured. 





In the monastery, Dragnikos Sigouros, later Archbishop of Egina – i.e. St. Dionysios- lived as a monk. He was buried there in 1622 at his own wish. His body was later moved to Zakynthos in 1717, after the big catastrophe of the monastery from the Turks. 





The monastery used to be a place to stay and for spiritual relaxation for both scholars and priest from Zakynthos. In the monastery, Patriarch of Constantinople Grigorios V lived there as a monk. The sacred monastery of Strofades was a very important monastic and spiritual centre of Orthodoxy. Built in the middle of the sea, it kept for centuries the valuable spirituality of Orthodox monasticism. Currently it is one of the most important monasteries in Western Greece, despite not being well known in the Orthodox world.  



 

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