Kathara Monastery

Ithaki, Greece

The historical Monastery of the Panagia (Virgin Mary) of Kathara looks out over the whole island of Ithaki from a height of 556 meters on the south-eastern side of the Homeric mountain of Niritos.

The life of the Monastery begins around 1696 but the history of the Icon of the Nativity of the Theotokos, to which the Monastery is dedicated, is even older and is shrouded within the age-old tradition of the island.

In 1830 the historic monastery had reached its peak as rich donations and offerings were made. This financial strength enabled the monastery to play a significant role in the revolution of 1821, assisting wounded fighters and harbouring others who were being hounded. From 1880 to 1910 the monastery suffered financially. In 1917 the abbot Ierotheos Kallinikos began an effort to renovate the monastery. This was supported by all Ithacans including the ship-owners. This effort was continued by the last abbot Samuel Molfesis. In 1993 the Ithacan monk Theodosios Vlismas settled in the monastery and, to this day, with the assistance of Ithacans everywhere, labours to continue the renovation

The Monastery of the Panagia Kathariotissa celebrates on September 8, the feast day of the Nativity of the Theotokos. A smaller feast day takes place on September 14, the Day of the Holy Cross, when according to tradition and because it is a fasting day, boiled broad-beans are given to the pilgrims.

The whole life of the Island is interwoven with the Kathariotissa and her Monastery. Twice in the past, after the earthquakes of 1928 and in March of 1954, after the earthquakes of 1953, the Icon of the Holy Virgin was transported from her Monastery to Vathy, the capital of the island. All the inhabitants accompanied the procession on foot, a fact that shows that the people of Ithaca place their trust in Her and take courage and hope from Her in their difficult times.

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Ithaki, Greece
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Category: Religious sites in Greece

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Owen (2 years ago)
Amazing viewpoint of Vathi. The drive is easy, especially with how quiet Ithaca can be. We drove up here and only saw one other car. Watch out for the goats!
Ray Say (2 years ago)
A beautiful place, a wonderful church and the views are awesome!
Tina Raptis (2 years ago)
The Monastery was locked up when we got there. The road is narrow and winding up to the highest point of the Island and if you're afraid of heights, maybe give it a miss. But the views from the tower.... I literally cannot describe the serenity and beauty to be found there ?
Costas Vrahatis (3 years ago)
Possibly one of the view places the visit while in Ithaki. Up in the mountain, overlooking Vathi bay with excellent view of the southern part of the island. Get plenty of photos. The road is rather twisty, but good.
Minh Long (3 years ago)
One of the most beautiful viewpoint on Ithaca. It’s located on a mountain right in the middle of the island so you will be guaranteed a breathtaking panoramic view. The bell tower looks right over the main town.
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The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. It is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Rauma. The church stands by the small stream of Raumanjoki (Rauma river).

The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.