Sunday, November 8, 2015

Monastery of the Taxiarchis, Mantamados, Lesvos

In Mantamado, on the island of Lesvos, is one of the holiest monasteries of the island, the Holy Monastery of the Taxiarchis, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. The miraculous icon of St Michael is a unique one, in all the Orthodox world.




According to Tradition, it was made between 1000 and 1100 AD, the time when Saracen pirates were raiding many Aegean islands. This monastery was a male monastery. The pirates, upon learning that it had a number of treasures and wealth, they entered the Church during the Divine Liturgy, killing all the monks.




However, in the Sanctuary, there was a 17 year old novice monk, who helped the priest during the services. He was able to escape from a small window and reach the roof, in order to hide. The pirates saw him, and after they sacked the Church and the Monastery, they wished to catch the young novice monk.




They managed to find ladders and reach the roof. At that point the roof was transformed into a rough sea and in the middle stood the Archangel Michael, tall and with a glaring face, holding his sword that was firing lighting. The panicked pirates ran towards the sea, leaving behind them all the looted artefacts and treasures the monastery owned. 




The novice monk entered the Church to help his fellow monks. Unfortunately, he found them all slaughtered. Then he had a divine inspiration; he collected the blood of the massacred monks, he mixed it with mud and formed the Archangel Michael, as he saw him on the roof. Due to the fact that he used most of the clay, he formed, for the Archangel’s head, his body is much smaller. Nevertheless, only the face is on show today; his body hides behind the screen.

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