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.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.