Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Rodia

10/12/2015

Located on the banks of the homonymous lagoon, near the village of Vigla. The original church was demolished in 1860 and today was built. It is dedicated to the Assumption and has impressive murals.

Located in an idyllic location on the banks of the homonymous lagoon, west of Arta and near the village of Vigla. The temple is dedicated to the Assumption. The sources mentioned with the nickname “Unwithering Rose” because so called image of the Virgin that existed in the previous Byzantine church of the monastery. It is easy to understand that from this picture comes the name “Pomegranate” which carries the present church and the lagoon.

We do not yet exactly is the founding years of the original church. When Seraphim Xenopoulos in this position stavropegic monastery was founded in the year 970, when Emperor in Constantinople was John Tzimiskes and Patriarch Basil. In this case we have no reason to doubt the reliability of his information Seraphim, first because it gives concrete evidence and then because the information in the raised -as he grafei- from ancient manuscripts that were in the monastery that unfortunately today no longer exist. From the same source we learn that the monastery was flourishing and he owned numerous estates, farm and four dependencies, including the Byzantine church of Saint Nicholas of Rodia in Kirkizates. Because the monastery took the lead very early in the struggle against the Turks was frequently the object of barbaric invasions, until the years of the revolution destroyed. The properties seized from the Turks, the church was ruined and so remained until 1860, when the position of the truly beauteous present church was built. This is great monokamari cross-roofed vaulted basilica also vaulted narthex and a very small diameter slender dome that offers a total elegance and grace. The peculiar dome is the characteristic trait. He is unique in the ecclesiastical architecture of Epirus and this raises the importance of the whole monument.

The church is a stone roof with visible effort craftsman stress on the roof of the shape of the cross. The domes of the cross antenna “cross” appear externally as pediments thus contributing to the external variation of the total. The masonry is very careful in the corners, with unique exterior decoration, simple toothed band at eaves of the main building and double the cornices of the dome and the apse of the sanctuary. It is evident in the masonry that square narthex was added later, but certainly before 1884, since that year it was decorated him.

Inside the church the walls are fraught frescoes preserved in very good condition. According to the inscription on the inside lintel of the south entrance, the illustration was done in 1884 by Samarinda painters and presents the familiar in the years of Ottoman rule, a provision in areas with full-length saints down stitharia saints in the middle and upper zones evangelical scenes or scenes from the calendar. In terms technotropoias compositions exhibit vivid colors, slender faces with bland expressions that do not resemble the known severity of the Byzantine, but rather approaching chionaditiki hagiographic tradition. Generally the church of Panagia Rodia, although it is relatively new construction, is a remarkable architectural monument and hagiographic.

Not far from the church, at the foot of the same rocky slope is a cave which for many years was used as a hermitage, as indicated by traces of frescoes on the walls. According to tradition – which preserves the chronicler of Epirus Aravantinos – there hermit St. Blaise of Sebastia. Unfortunately, brutal interventions eliminated the brilliance of these frescoes desecrating and space, since from what seems the cave was used for many years as a stable.

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