Filerimos Monastery

Ialysos, Greece

When Christianity first grew its roots in Greece, many of the ancient cult sanctuaries were transformed into churches. At that time the Filerimos temple was converted into an early Christian three-aisled basilica dedicated to Virgin Mary. The castle of Filerimos was constructed by the Byzantines in the 11th century.

The church is well known since for housing the icon of the Virgin of Filerimos. Attributed to St. Luke the Evangelist, the icon was brought in to Rhodes during the 13th century, probably from Jerusalem where it remained until 1523. Under the rule of the Knights of St. John a Monastery was built, surrounded by cloisters and cells and a number of chapels. When the island came into the possession of the Ottoman Turks, the icon was taken by the Knights to France and from there to Italy, then Malta and Russia, where it stayed until the 1917 revolution. Since 2002, it has been kept in the Blue Chapel of the National Museum of Montenegro.

The Monastery was destroyed by the Turks. In 1876, various excavations brought into light a Mycenaean pottery, a Doric foundation and the ruins of the Hellenistic temple of Athena Polias. In the ’20s, during the Italian occupation, in the effort to consolidate and justify the Italian presence on the island, a major reconstruction was carried out. They added a Via Crucis (Calvary), a pathway that leads from the monastery towards the south-western edge of the plateau, to a small square with a stunning view dominated by the Mt. Attavyros in the distance. Here an imposing iron Cross stood in the middle. The Cross was later destroyed as it was used by the allied war planes during the WWII as a landmark to hit the airport. Along the right side of the path, stone altars were built with embedded reliefs, depicting scenes of the Passions of Jesus. They even brought a congregation of Capuchin monks but no particular care was taken for the Hellenistic and Byzantine relics.

Today the Monastery remains almost unchanged. A long stair in the entrance leads up an avenue of cypresses and bougainvillea to the cloister and the foundations of the temple. The Early Christian basilica, and the small subterranean Byzantine church are open to the visitors. It is the preferred place by the Rhodians for wedding ceremonies. Stunted pastel cedars form now an archway in Via Crucis, leading to the belvedere where a few years ago a new gigantesque Cross made of concrete, was erected.



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Ialysos, Greece
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Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in Greece

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jan (10 months ago)
Stunning place to visit, especially early in the morning if it’s hot. Free to wonder around but €6 per person at the Monastery, but worth it!
Kuba Markowski (10 months ago)
Generally speaking, it’s a nice place with nice views. I do believe the monastery is more beautiful during the summer. We were here in may, the flowers and plants weren’t yet blooming so the place seemed a bit grey and boring. The entrance to the monastery costs 6 euros which on one hand isn’t much but on the other it doesn’t give you much. Honestly I wouldn’t judge anyone if they skipped the monastery part and went the other way to the cross and scenic view of Rhodes. Much more worth it + free. The entrance to the monastery is free for people under 25 from Europe. People under 25 outside Europe pay half price. There’s a small shop with drinks and candy which is super cheap so that’s a plus. There are Indian peafowls and pheasants running around freely but they seem calm and aren’t attacking tourists. A good and productive option is to go there by foot, the satisfaction you get once you make it to the top is unreal. However most people get there by cars. There’s a bus stop at the top but during spring (may) no buses were going there, so maybe in the summer when the tourist period starts. Worth the visit for the views.
Raili Karvonen-Willman (10 months ago)
Rhodes without this-You missed a lot. Please go to visit and let it make You peaceful. Taxi up, walking down recommended. Beautiful scenery. Peacocks noises are still on my head. Positive way. Respect the nature and the monastery peace.?
J Di (10 months ago)
I like that there are not a lot of blocked off areas. 6 euros to get in but it is a nice place with lots of places to take pictures. Restrooms are ok. Peacocks everywhere. There is a bus stop at the top but sure which one goes there.
charlotte howard (12 months ago)
€3 entry to the Monastery only. The grounds are free with lots of peacocks in them and around the car park and small building selling refreshments The Doric Cross is free and has great views.
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