THE MONASTERY OF ZOODOCHOS PIGI
The Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi is the most important religious monument of Poros built in a verdant area 4 klm away from the town of Poros. The Monastery was founded from the Archbishop of Athens Iakovos in 1720, who was suffering from an illness and he was cured miraculously after drinking from the Holy water of the fountain of the Monastery. In 1733, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Paisios the 2nd, recognised it as a Monastery under the Patriarch's jurisdiction giving a lot of privileges to the Monastery. The Monastery played an important role during the Greek Revolution in terms of financial and social assistance to the freedom fighters.
The first Governor of the liberated Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias as well as the great warriors in land and sea Miaoulis, Tompazis, Apostolis, Boudouris, Drosinos, got strenght from their beloved monastery, praying in front of the holy icon of the Mother of God of Zoodochos Pigi monastery. In 1828, in the establishments of the Holy Monastery, Ioannis Kapodistrias founded the first orphanage of the liberated Greek nation for the orphans of the warriors of the war for freedom. 180 orphans were sheltered in the monastery, which took full care of them.
In 1830, the first Eclesiastical School, in the eastern wing of the Monastery, was founded by I. Kapodistrias, with 15 students.
The Governor's vision was to provide the new born state with educated clergymen, willing to work for its spiritual support. The Holy Monastery became a source of spiritual comfort for many believers and other religious people. In 1814, a group of monks from Mount Athos, called "Kollyvades", took refuge in this Monastery. A few years later, these monks founded the Zoodochos Pigi Monastery at Longovarda in this island of Poros. In 1821, monks from another monastery of Mount Athos also sought refuge in this monastery in order to keep in safety the sacred and valuable articles of their monastery and the Holy Relic of Saint John the Baptist.
In this monastery also, in the beginning of the 20th century, Saint Nectarios, a saint of our times, stayed for a couple of months as well as other holy ascetic people, who sanctified the place with their prayers and priritual struggles.
The Main Church (Katholiko)
Katholiko, that is the main church of the monastery, is a bacilica with a dome and a tower like belfry. In both sides of the vestibule of the church there are the tombs of the heroic admirals of the Liberation War of Greece Manolis Tombazis, from Hydra island and Nikolaos Apostolis, from Psara island. Inside the church there is an excellent iconostasis (templo) of exquisite craft. It was propably made in Asia Minor, it is five meters high, curved on lime-wood and plated with gold. Its great height and its bending surface towards the main part of the church, help to the excellent acoustics of the building.
On the right of the iconostasis the household icon of Panagia, the Zoodochos Pigi (the life-giving spring), is placed. The old Byzantine icon is dated in 1650 a.d. It is a masterpiece of Byzantine art. Around the main figure of the Mother of God, many miracles that Her Grace worked are depicted. In front of the icon there is a silver oil lamp, in which a vigil light is burning, as a token of gratitude for the miracle worked by the Mother of God in 1990. After a long period of rainlessness, Panagia listened to the prayers of monks and priests and it rained.
Opposite to the icon of Panagia and on the left of the "templo" there is an icon of the Mother of God painted by the Italian painter and doctor Raphael Tsecoli (1849 a.d.). The icon shows Panagia holding the Holy Infant Jesus and a sceptre. This icon was donated to the Monastery by Tsecoli out of gratitude because his daughter, Archia Tsecoli, who finally died of tuberculosis in 1847, was hosted and cured at the monastery. Tsecoli has given his daughter's lineaments to the face of Panagia and little Jesus. In the lower part of the icon, Tsecoli painted the Monastery, protected by the Mother of God.
On the left side of the church, near the entrance, there is also a small, miracle-working icon of great value, placed on a wood-engraved stand. It is called Panagia the Amolyntos (Mother of God, the Immaculate), dated in 1590 and is decorated with a gold-and-silver-plated cover. It is called "Evresis", because it was found in the woods. It was offered by monk Zosimas.On the western wass of the church, the icon of Christ Pantocrator (the All-Mighty God) is hung, made with excellent craftsmanship (1780). According to tradition, there are two more icons offered by the admirals Basilios Boudouris and Andreas Miaoulis. It is said that Miaoulis had a gold-and-silver-plated icon of Panagia Zoodochos Pigi with him, in his battle ship "Aris". He had it hung on the ship's bridge and he often prayed in front of it during the sea-lights. On the outer south wall of the main church a sundial is attached. It is the work of a priest-monk named Galaction Galatis, who was prior of the Monastery.
The Holy Monastery comes under the notice of the Holy Metropolis of Hydra, Spetses, Aegina, Hermionis and Trizinia. It numbers 17 registered monks. Three of them reside permantely in the Monastery and, apart from their duties as monks, they offer social and spiritual help to the people of the wider territory of the local church.
visiting times :07.30-13.00&16.00-Sunset
THE RUSSIAN NAVAL BASE IN POROS
The Russian Naval Base is a historical landmark with great architectural interest located in the region of Calabria. The dockyard is a historical symbol of the military cooperation between Greece and Russia during the 18th and 19th century as the Russian Naval Fleet entered the Aegean with the intention of assisting the country in the war with Turkey. The site has been declared as a historical monument for its important role during the Greek Revolution.
On the April of 1770, a division of the Russian armada arrived in Greece commanded by Alexis Orlov, so that stimulating the slave Greeks in a rebellion against the Turks, who were in a belligerent condition with the Russians during that period. The Russian armada though was afflicted for months in the Aegean Sea in continual attacks against the Turkish armada, in which the Russians showed a big sloth and clumsiness. Eventually, the Russian armada made a sea battle with the Turkish armada on October of 1770 in Lemnos.
There, Orlov himself, in a panicked condition, took a frigate and left, giving the command to the armada to follow him in Italy. Then, the Greeks that were participating at his crews convinced him after many requests not to abandon the fight. So, he turned back again to the Greek coasts and established his admiralty in Poros.
From there, staying inactive for three years, he commanded 14 islands of the Aegean that he had under his possession. Orlov constructed the Russian storage rooms at the place where the K.E. POROS is today. Besides the storage rooms, he also constructed a bakery, cooking places and other buildings for the support of his armada.
The Greek State bought these buildings in 1834, when it founded there the first Naval Yard of the Greek state. Poros had become then “the naval yard of the Greek Nautical power, being naturally at this defined” and “the seed bed, in a manner of speaking, of the Greek sailors.”
At that time, besides the Greek ships, the French, the English and the Russian armada were steered at the leeward narrows of Poros. The Nautical Russian Service, after the sale of the old storage rooms to the Greek State, constructed new ones in 1834 at the area of Neorio, which is named Russian naval yard today at the breast of the cove, across the islet “Daskaleio”.
These buildings were used for the storage of materials and foods, production of the hard-tack (galeta), and storage of coal for the feed of the Russian armada that was found in the Mediterranean. This place was delivered to the Russian Government by the eldership of Poros of that time, as an evidence of the gratefulness for the offer of the Russian armada in the Greek situation.
The Russians preserved the property of the storage rooms and the bakeries of the Russian Naval Yard with the surveillance by a paid guardian until the year of 1900, when the ambassador of Greece in Petersburg, Al. Tompazis, knowing about their deserted condition, convinced the Russian Embassy to give their ownership to the Greek Government. The last guardian that was paid by the Russian embassy is referred to be Panagiotis Salonitis, and after his death, his wife.
The Greek Government delivered the area of the Russian Naval Yard with the old buildings to the individual N. Sxiza. Later on, many transfers had been made from an individual to an individual.
Eventually, in1989, according to a decision of the Ministry of Culture, these buildings of the Russian Naval Yard were characterized as historical and tenable monuments and a zone of security of 100 m. was defined round the outline of the buildings. Nowadays, the coast of the Russian Naval yard has clean sand and suitable sea for swimming, while in the sea area of the gulf many crafts are docking during the summer.
Architectonic elements of the Russian Naval Yard
Nowadays, the Russian Naval Yard is a complex of stone semi-derelict buildings. The main building, which prevails over the beach, consists of three narrow-front spaces placed in a row, which have a rectangular ground plan and are housed with the same number of big domes.
Their fore front towards the beach is almost two-floor and is divided into two zones, with a horizontal decorative tape made of smooth plaster.
The domes are hiding with a high breast wall, which is decorated with a horizontal marble tape with lineal vertical bars. The openings are placed axially and are repeated rhythmically; the same for each dome and have a lineal stone lintel with a decorative key. At the internal, the domes have been demolished and only their tracks on the walls are distinguished.
Behind the main building, there is a second complex of storage rooms that look at the main entrance, show the semi-circled drums at the main face. Their base is underlined with a entablature of slates.
THE WATER-BIOTOPE OF PSIFTA
Psifta is a village that combines holiday, environmental-ecological and historical – archeological interest for the visitor.
The surrounding territory of Psifta consists a remarkable ekosystem and the hydro biotope, around, has been characterized as a sea-lake.
For its rare beauty Psifta and the around area have been declared as "area of exquisite natural beauty" from the Ministry of Culture.
Psifta, one of the few hydro-biotopes of the south Greece, is a shallow sea-lake with many reedbeds and swamps, which during the winter is flooded, while the summer its surface descends, creating saline soils and low halophytic vegetation.
The water-biotope of Psifta is a resting station for the migratory birds, especially at the spring. Here the feathery fauna finds food and a safe place to stay.
Also the water-biotope is a safe refuge for the winter birds, such as swans, herons and ducks. During the heavy winter, the populations and the viriety of birds are increased.
According to some ornithological studies it has been estimated that 89 bird species from 34 different families migrate or hibernate in this important hydrobiotope.
Overall, the lagoon of Psifta is a real paradise for rare species of flora and fauna and one of the most beautiful water sites that lodges a great variety of feathery fauna of this area.
Around the hydrobiotope there are buildings (info kiosk) and wooden observatories, harmonically attached to the surrounding environment for the relaxation and enjoyment of the visitors. To complement the natural environment, there have been planted 2,550 trees and shrubs that thrive in the area.
At Psifta and the surrounding area you can find paved walkways and paths which, together with the wooden bridge and the various information signs, facilitate the transit and observation of the natural landscape.
The most interesting archeological monuments nearby Psifta sea-lake, are the remaining of the temple (mentioned by the ancient historic writer Pausanias) of Saronian Artemis (the goddess Diana) belonging to the archaic period and the "sunken city" (estimated 70.000 population), in which we can notice some elements of wall-making and some fragments of roman vessels.
DIAVOLOGEFIRO (DEVIL'S BRIDGE)
Devil's bridge (Diavologefyro) is a rugged area of wild beauty located close to the village of Trizina. It is a small natural bridge created out of two huge stones that unite the sides of the gorge underneath it. It is a beautiful ravine with verdant vegetation, agelong trees and platanus.
It runs summer and winter water, but you can still end the year on the rocky ground running. It is a beautiful piece of nature.
After crossing the bridge, follow the footpath to a natural clearing. From there, several paths lead further into the gorge where small ponds, cascades, butterflies, toads, and other small wildlife conjure a fairytale setting.
A local lore, dating back to Ottoman rule states that the bridge was named like that because the bridgemaker sold his soul to the devil in order to execute the pasha’s orders to construct the crossing. But the bridgemaker was unable to enjoy the riches from having completed the task as the devil soon after claimed his soul and sowed great destruction on his family.
Another local lore derives from the hoof marks on the bridge. These were said to be made by Pan, the flute-playing god of the wild whose body was half-goat like that of the satyrs. These hoof marks also resemples the marks of the mythical flying horse Pegasus and thats the reason the local names the water running below "Ipokrini" (Horse sping of water).
Diavologefyro is reached via a rough track from the village of Trizina that ends in a small clearing framed by olive trees, this is as far as you can travel by car. A footpath leads further inland through a small gorge to “the devil’s bridge”. On the road to the bridge you can turn to the excavation of the ancient Troizen, the birthplace of the legendary hero Theseus and background of the myth of Hippolytus and Phaedra, wife of Theseus.
THE BYZANTINE CHAPEL OF AGIOS DIMITRIOS
The Chapel of Agios Dimitrios is one of the oldest churches of Methana located on the hill close to the village of Kounoupitsa. The church has a post byzantine character and it is worth visiting it for its beautiful frescoes and the old icons. If you ascend to the church, you will have the opportunity to admire panoramic views towards the islands of Aegina and Agistri.
The Chapel of Agios Dimitrios constructed in 1455, two years after the Fall of Constantinople, for the perservation of Christianity in the region. It had got over 100 monks and was a very prominent church. Also it had got battlements and in the years of the Greek war independance (1821) it was a secret meeting place for the fighters and members of the Filiki Eteria (Society of Friends).
It has been declared as Stavropigiaki - meaning that in its foundation it had been built a cross - under the direct jurisdiction of the Patriarch Paisios the 2nd. The March of 1798, during the Ottoman period, the then Patriarch Grigorios the fifth, ratified the jurisdiction of the Patriarch Paisios the 2nd.
The Ottoman period was one of the best periods of the Church -while always being a beacon of Orthodoxy- since the turks had granted many privileges to the Monasteries.
The things changed during the Greek War of Independence with the turks trying many times to burn down the church but without succeeding. It was then that most of the church's monks fled to the Monastery of the Holy Mother in Vidi village and to the Monastery of Poros island. Since then the church of Agios Dimitrios had been abandoned.
In 2005 and after the ruling of the Metropolitan priest of Hydra, Aegina, Trizinia and Ermionis, Mr. Efrem, there has been decided the reconstitution of the Monastery of Agios Dimitrios under the Archbishop of Trizinias, Mr. George Stokos. The required restoration of the church has been begun, to allow its reopening.
THE HOLY MONASTERY OF VIRGIN MARY
At the location "Agios Panteleimon", 3 kilometers away from the village of Trizina and at the Aderes mountain slope, lies the Monastery of the annunciation of Virgin Mary, with 14 monks. It attracts many pilgrims every year and is located in the verdant countryside.
The Monastery built by the Archimandrite Epifanio Theodoropoulo and established in 1976 by the then Metropolitan of Hydra, Spetses and Aegina island, Mr. Ierotheo.
The first monks occupied the Monastery at the 15th of April 1977, day of the celebration of Zoodochos Pigi. The present church was inaugurated by the late Bishop of Synadas, Mr. Germanos, after five years in 1982, at the day of celebration of Zoodochos Pigi.
It is the second avaton (Άβατον, prohibition on entry for women) male Monastery of the Metropolis of Hydra island and is considered a modern miracle because it's been buit without ecomomical resources, but with the hard hand-word of the monks and volunteers.
The Monastery's first Abbot was Simeon Koutsas, after him Mr. Isichios Pepas and continuing was Mr. Spiridon Pavlopoulos.
THE TEMPLE OF VIRGIN MARY IN EPISKOPI
The old Christian Church of Virgin Mary in Episkopi and its main Shrine are dated back to the 12th century b.C. It is an oblong building constructed above another old Temple.
Some of the preserved church remainings are the main temple, the splint and the around precinct. These elements were manufactured successively, as we conclude from their different masonry, but also by other technical indications.
The main temple consists of an oblong building which also have the Shrine inside. The Shrine was divided into three communicating apartments. The excavation of the church was done by Orlandos.
From testimonials we know that Episkopi as a church existed since the 9th century b.C. There are the remainings of an inscribed column (cion) and some ancient greek and Byzantine relics.