Only 3 kilometers far from Lefkada, one of the Ionian Islands, on a green hill, there lies the Monastery of Theotokos Phaneromeni (manifested), the oldest and largest of the island, which is for centuries the religious center of it.
The monastery is dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, who is also the protector and patron saint of Lefkada.
According to tradition, in the placeof the monastery there was a temple of the goddess Artemis. In 63 AD, Saint Paul,passing by the region of Nicopolis, in neighboring Preveza, sent to the island three of his disciples, Aquila, Sosion and Herodion. The latter prayed kneeling with faith in God and the statue of Artemis fell down and broke into pieces. Here, the Christians built a small temple dedicated to the Theotokos. Then Apostle Paul ordained Sosion, who becamethe first bishop of Lefkada.
In 332 ADbishop Agatharchos and two fathers settled in the church,expanded it and built the first cells for monksthus laying the foundation for monasticism in the island.
In the 5th century, the icon of the Theotokos was ordered in Constantinople. The venerable monk and iconographer Callistus, who was a priest of St. Sophia,took over the depiction after praying and fasting. Befor he began, however, he found the picture completed by Theotokos herself. From this miracle the icon took the name Phaneromeni (manifested).
In the following years, many conquerors held the island and the monastery suffered from repeated disasters. In 1734,the island beingunder Venetian rule,the main temple was builtin the present form. The church was burnt completely in 1886 and its reconstruction and renovation began once again. The iconostasis was constructed in 1887 while the icons were addedin 1919.
For years, Phaneromeni was inoperative until the monk and present abbot Nikephoros arrived and with great efforts of decades changed the lookof the monastery. He renovated it, created a church museum and now the monastery operates as a coenobium with 5 monks.
In the monastery there is kept a small piece of the Holy Wood, relics of St. Arsenius of Cappadocia, Silouan the Athonite, greatmartyr Panteleimon, Macrina, George of Ioannina, Nicephore and other saints.
Besides the feast of the Dormitionon August 15, the Synaxis of Theotokos Phaneromenis celebrated for the pilgrims in the monastery on the Monday of the Holy Spirit.
Telephone: (+30) 26450 21305