This article will cover four of the best Byzantine monasteries present in the Greece. These are the Agnountos Monastery, then Hosios Lukas, Saint Catherine Monastery and Mount Athos.
The Agnountos Monastery is one of the most beautiful monuments of the Byzantine art; this beautiful monument evokes admiration for many visitors, researchers, historians, archaeologists and tourists. The Agnountos monastery was built on a slope of the mountain and is 7km away from Epidaurus. The monastery is surrounded by beautiful olive groves, green forests and rocky hills. According to the history, travelers saw a dim light in a mountain, the followed the light and found a buried icon of Virgin Mary thus they built this monastery near that area to mark it as a memorable monument for the event they experienced and the Virgin Mary’s icon they found. The name Agnountos was derived from a Greek word which meant ‘to gaze’, this monastery was built in the 11th century and has been a strong symbol of Christianity since then. Though there is no proof over when this monastery was made, but the graffiti made by the monks declared way back to 1029 AC. The monastery has a high stone wall, and towers, as in the previous times Peloponnese had been invaded by many civilizations; many people used to hide in this monastery and drew graffiti which tells a lot about the history. Agnountos has a church in the center of the yard. It is completely made up of stone and has 8 pillars to support the entire structure. There are spherical domes above the pillars. The interior of the church is covered with beautiful ancient wall paintings; the iconostasis is a wooden carved which was the most popular piece of artwork at earlier times. The Agnountos monastery is a beautiful site, the best monumental art of the Byzantine monasteries. Touring this monastery is a must; it’s an historical landmark, holds religious importance and is beautiful and peaceful.
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The monastery of Hosios Lukas is situated on the slopes of Mount Helicon. It was founded in the beginning of the 10th century. It was founded by hosios and Lukas; their relics were kept in the monastery. The main shrine of the monastery is the tomb of St Luke (Lukas). The legend is that Lukas had perfumed oil inside him which had proved to be a cure for many diseases. Many believers who wanted to cure themselves for a certain disease used to sleep next to the tomb of Lukas hoping for miracles to happen. Hosios Lukas thus got its name from Lukas and hosios. Hosios Lukas is the largest among the three Byzantine monasteries. The monastery is known for its lavish decorated; the work of art and creativity can be seen in every corner of the monastery. There is carving of gold, silver, mosaics and murals in the interior. Apart from that the interior is made even beautiful with silk curtains, altar clothes and chandeliers. There are two churches present in the monastery, the church of the Theotokos and Katholikon. The hosios Lukas monastery is beautiful in its unique old ways. The beautiful monastery has attracted many visitors from all over the world and holds immense religious importance.
Saint Catherine’s Monastery is present in Egypt. It is also known as Santa Katarina and is situated on the foot of Mount Sinai. The monastery is orthodox and is one of the oldest working monasteries in the world, situated across the red sea, in the southern desert of Cairo. For travelers it is very easy to travel to this historical landmark as many resorts and hotels are built around it making it easier for tourists to visit the site. The history behind the construction if the monastery is that according to the legend, Catherine of Alexandria was a Christian martyr, she was first sentenced to death on a wheel which failed to kill her, later she was beheaded. According to the tradition the angels took the remains to the Mount Sinai where monks then found her remains later on. Thus the Saint Catherine’s monastery was constructed here which proved to be an important pilgrimage site for the Christians. The monastery was built by Emperor Justinian I. This site is also known to Moses seeing the burning bushes. Thus it holds religious importance to Christians and Muslims both. In this Monastery Fatimid Mosque was constructed (mosque is a worshipping place for Muslims), but this Mosque has never been used by the Muslims as its direction was not proper towards Mecca. Today the monastery is surrounded by fortification and large walls. The monastery is home to a library also which also serves as museums. It has the second largest collection of early manuscripts and codices. It contains texts in Greek, Arabic, Georgian, Coptic, Armenian and other languages. It had the oldest script of the Bible which is now in the British Library; it also has an agreement by prophet Muhammad of Islam who had bestowed protection over the monastery. Saint Catherine’s Monastery is beautifully constructed with an interior of Mosaic. It is a beautiful location and is a must visit if touring Egypt.
The Simonopetra Monastery is an Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. This monastery is also known as the ministry of Simons Petra. It is one the best and beautifully designed Byzantine monasteries. The ministry is located in the south of the Mount Athos. The monastery is built on a large rock make its terrain passage very harsh. The rock is partially hanging from a cliff which is 330 meters over the sea and it currently is a home to 54 monks. This beautiful monastery was founded in the 13th century. It was founded by Simon the Athonite, who according to the tradition was dwelling as well in a cave and there he saw a dream that Theotokos has ordered him to construct a monastery on top of a rock. The monastery is a multi layered building; the choir of this monastery is known worldwide and is also published.