Evangelistria (Virgin Mary)
MONASTERIES. On Skopelos there are many important monasteries in wonderful places with breathtaking views, with a great architectural and historical interest and important relics. Around the town there are around 15 and on the whole island over 40. Many of them are on the north side of the mountain Palouki.
The most important are:
Monastery of Evangelismos, Monastery of Metamorphosi tou Sotiros, Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi or Panagia in Livadi, Monastery of Agia Varvara, Monastery of Timios Prodromos, Monastery ofAgios Taxiarchis in Glossa, Monastery ofAgios Efstathios, Agia Moni. We must not forget the deserted monasteries Agios Taxiarchis o Vatos, Agios Ioannis in Kotronaki and Agios Georgios, as well as the cave hermitages at Panormos, in the area of Loutsa and Limnonari.
Monastery of Evangelismos:
The monastery of Evangelistria (Virgin Mary) is located on the mountainside of Palouki - at a place with great views, and its fortress-like appearance is associated with pirate raids. It was built in 1712 on the ruins of an old Byzantine monastery of 1676 by Hadji-Stefanis Daponte (father of Kaisarios Daponte), and it belongs to the Xiropotamos monastery of Mount Athos. Today there are only two nuns left at the monastery. You can visit the monastery daily 08.00-13.00 and 17.00-19.00. We should mention here that this schedule applies broadly to other inhabited monasteries on Skopelos.
In the large inner courtyard you will find a roofed fountain refers to Daponte as the founder of the monastery, and a small exhibition with various objects and images.
There are old icons of the 14th century in the monastery, and its temple is covered with leaves of gold (made in a workshop in Constantinople), and it is decorated with depictions of plants and animals and scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
The foundation and the rising of the monastery is directly linked, as mentioned, to the great Daponte family. Apart from the testimonies of the scholar monk from Skopelos, no other written source is preserved to inform us about the creation and renovation of the monastery.
So, according to the Kaisarios Daponte, in a monastery code written by himself, there used to be a smalle monastery in the same place owned by the Daponte family, and namely by his father, Hadji - Stefanis, Ioannis Grammatikos.
At his own expense, Hadji Stefanis renovated the old monastery in 1712 and gave it is current form. The renovation at that time cost “5 pougia” ie 5 x 500 = 2,500 piasters (grossia).
The reason for the renovation was a miracle of Our Lady, by which Hadji-Stefanis was saved when notables of the island enviously gave him over to the Agas of the islands to be killed.
We know nothing about the cause of the envy. However, at the time Hadji - Stefanis held the post of English Console, as did his sone Kaisarios later. The founder and renovator of the monastery became interested in the education of Skopelos people, and thus saw for the establishment of a school at the monastery where Saint Ierotheos Iviritis also taught. The monastery belongs to the Holy Monastery of Xeropotamos on Mount Athos. Previously, and according to Kaisarios Daponte it was stavropegic and dependent under the Constantinople Patriarchate.
“And it is stavropegic with a wonderful icon of our Lady full of miracles”.
This picture bears the title The PAMMAKARISTOS and according to tradition it was transferred to Skopelos by two monks who came from Constantinople under Nikiforos Fokas (963-969).
There is also another icon of the Virgin Mary in a position of reverence and respect. It bears an inscription 1866, but is probably earlier.
The Patriarchal sigillium of 1804 is kept and stored in the monastery in two leaden seals of the monastery.
As for artifacts and assets of the monastery, we learn from 2 ledgers (directories) of 1829 and 1841 respectively.
When Kaisarios wrote the verse poem ANTHI NOITA in the Xiropotamos monastery in 1786, the bishop of Evaggelistria was a former bishop of Patras, perhaps Gerasimos from Skopelos, who was bishop of Patras in 1768.
The bishops of the monastery were Meletios, formerly of Zitounio, and Serafeim, formerly of Thavmakos.
The islanders witnessed an intense presence of monk Prokopios, with his ascetic life, his gentleness and humble existence.
At the monastery there is a chapel dedicated to the patron saint of the Seas, Agios Nikolaos.
The longing of Kaissaras Daponte to return to his father’s monastery was great, so he writes “When I returned home after so many years and events and toils, I went straight to the monastery and didn’t even pass through the town”.
“Inside waters, outside waters, with a cistern with plane trees worthy of tycoons”.
On the road for the monastery you can quench your thirst with spring water at Metochi.