Panagia Monastery at Meseleri

Vryomeni

Panagia Vryomeni Monastery in Meseleri
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The monastery of Panagia Vryomeni is located 4km east of the village Meseleri, province Ierapetra, in a rough area and built atop a rock. It is dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary (Panagia), celebrating on September 8, but the monastery celebrates also on the feast day of the Dormition of Theotokos (August 15). It is an inactive monastery which, until 1992, was abandoned; this is when its restoration started. Since then, during the feasts, the restored monk cells host the pilgrims who arrive from the wider area.

The monastery temple is a single-barrel-vaulted church in good condition and of dimensions 5m x 10m. The church was built in 1401, and was extended to the west after 1550. The ground floor buildings of the monastery, built in the 20th century, are developed around the temple. Of particular interest is the embossed decoration of the base of the bell tower with floral decoration and three faces, dating to the 16th century.

Its interior is recorded with very old frescoes of Paleologean art of 1401-1402 attributed to the painter Myron Kalodrosios. In addition to the nine scenes of the Christological Circle (Evangelism, Birth, Presentation at the Temple - Hypapante, Baptism, Crucifixion, Epitaph, Descent to Hades and and Lithos), the iconographic program includes several scenes for Virgin Mary (Nativity and Presentation) which was probably complemented by the representation of the Dormition at the west wall of the original temple.

Timeline

  • 13th century: The church of Panagia is built, but it is not yet known whether a monastery operated then.
  • 1401: The monk Myron Kalodrosios and his Sofrosyni, renovate the church of Panagia and build the first cells.
  • 1577: The main temple is extended to the west and the monastery reaches its peak.
  • Ottoman Era: The monastery becomes a center of revolutionary activity in the area of ​​Ierapetra.
  • 1821: It is said that in the monastery takes place the first meeting of the chieftains of East Crete. Once, the Turks learn that, they destroy the monastery and this gets deserted.
  • 1903: The monastery and its rich properties become a dependency of the Monastery Faneromeni.
  • 1925: The properties of the Monastery are granted to the soldiers of the Asia Minor War and the temple is owned by the parish of Meseleri.
  • 1992: The reconstruction of the ruined monastery complex starts.
  • 2004: The frescoes of the church of Virgin Mary are cleaned with modern methods.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Lassithi Prefecture
  • Type: Church
  • Accessibility: Dirt track

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