Monasteries of Paros
Some of the monasteries in Paros
Religious tourism in Paros
During the Turkish domination there were thirty five active monasteries in Paros. Today, however, only five of them are still active, while the rest of them are regarded as monuments of Paros, since there are no monks or nuns living there anymore and they are preserved by their owners.
They are built at isolated locations of Paros, usually on hills or mountains with a panoramic view. They are surrounded by high walls without big windows but with large spaces and big roofed balconies. In each monastery there is a church with a cypress next to it, a symbol of immortality.
The main monasteries of Paros are:
The monastery of Logovardas
The monastery of Logovardas is located on the way from Parikia to Naoussa. It was built in the middle of the 17th century and it is the biggest monastery of Paros. It has a glorious history and its monks' work is rich and creative. Icon painters, bookbinders, writers... It has a very interesting library with rare manuscripts and rare editions.
The monastery flourished during the 20th century, when father Filotheos Zervakos (ascetic) who was eminent for his philanthropic work, was the abbot. He helped many children from poor families of Paros to study. During the occupation, he protected members of national resistance and allies while he also saved 125 hostages from being executed, by using his influence with the German commander.
His self-sacrifice is very touching. When he asked the German commander to grant the 125 hostages a reprieve, he refused and told him that he could ask for anything else but that. Then, the venerable father without any second thoughts asked him to kill him before the others. The German commander was touched by his self-abnegation and released the 125 hostages.
In the monastery there is also a winery and a cellar and it accommodates seven monks and their abbot. The monastery celebrates on the 23rd of July, the day of the Life-giving Spring and the entry of women is prohibited.
It is built on a hill with a view of the village of Paros Marpissa and Piso Livadi, of Naxos, Koufonissia and Iraklia. It is a picturesque monastery of insular architecture, quite verdurous since there is a spring near by. The church of Saint George was probably built in the middle of the 16th century while the monastery dates back to the middle of the 17th century.
More than 25 monks used to live here, but it has been abandoned at the beginning of the 20th century. The monastery has been restored after its integration in 1994 in a European Union's program and its doors opened again on the 30th of April 2000, the day that the ceremony for the beginning of works for its restoration took place.
At the monastery there is an olive press, a two-storeyed guest house, a stable and dormitories for the visitors, storage areas, cells, a big refectory, a reception room, a kitchen and guest rooms for clergymen.
The church of Saint George in Paros is a one-aisled arch-roofed basilica with two bells at its two-arched belfry, dating back to the 16th century.
Today, only one monk lives at the monastery and he looks after it and its visitors.
The monastery of Saint Anthony
It is located at the top of Kefalos and it was founded in 1957. If the visitors choose to reach to the mountain from the old path, they will pass through the ruins of the Venetian castle of Paros. They can also take the dirt road (on foot or by car) and reach to its northern side.
The monastery was a monastic center since 1642, when it was cenobitic. Since the 18th century the monastery was protected by the family of the prince of Wallachia Nicolaos Mavrogenis and was well-known for its financial activity since it had many farms, animals, a windmill and even small boats. It stopped being active in 1834 by a royal decree because only 6 monks used to live there.
The church of Saint Anthony is imposing; a sample of folk church architecture, with two domes. The altar is based on an Ionic column while the headstones are decorated with Venetian blazons.
From the middle of the spring, the monastery and the church are open at specific hours and a guard shows the visitors round.
Other important monasteries of Paros are the following:
- The monastery of Thapsana, to the south of Elitas (active).
- The monastery of Saint Arsenios (Christ on the forest) is located at the area near the butterflies and it is a monastery of nuns. Here you will also find the grave of Saint Arsenios, the patron saint of Paros and that is why tens of faithful people often visit the monastery.
- The monastery of the Taxiarch, to the north of Parikia (active).
- The monastery of Saint George at the area of Lagadas.
- The monastery of Saint Anthony in Marpissa.
- The monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa (the Virgin Mary of the Myrtles) on the hill of Thapsana, which is a cenobitic monastery for nuns.
- The monastery of Saints Theodores. You will find it on the way down from the church of All Saints (Agii Pantes) towards the south. It is a monastery of old calendarist nuns.
- The monastery Agii Anargiri (the Holy Unmercenaries), built on a hill in Parikia, with a view of the bay.
- The monastery of Christ Pantocrator, is a fortress building in Marmara.
- The monastery of Saint Minas is located in Marathi, was founded in 1594 and belongs to the descendants of Constantinos Damias.
- The monastery of St. Andrew to the southwest of Naoussa, was built in the 17th century and it belongs to the Zoumis family.
- The monastery of Saint John Detis is situated across Naoussa and next to the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros.
- The monastery of St. Kyriaki is situated to the southwest of the windmills of Lefkes and you will get there if you take the road to Avlaki.
- The monastery of Saint John Kaparos is located on a small hill on the way from Lefkes to the church of All Saints (Agii Pantes).