Holy Monastery of Virgin Mary of Molyvdoskepasto,
province of Konitsa
perfecture of Epirus, Greece

The monastery is located 17 kilometers from the town of Konitsa and 400 meters from the Greek-Albanian borders, at the north-western part of Epirus, at the historic area of Bourazani.

Traveling from Konitsa, we pass the villages of Mazi and Aetopetra and meet the river Voidomati. We cross the river by the bridge next to the military check-point and turn right towards the village Molyvdoskepasto. At the end of the mostly straight road, there is a bus stop at the right hand-side just before the road starts going uphill. Rather than continuing uphill, we continue straight bellow the bus stop and at about 50 meters, in a green area, we find the historic monastery.

Name
Holy Royal and Cross-Founded Monastery of Virgin Mary of Molyvdoskepasto, province of Konitsa
Royal = because it was build by the Constantine D' The Pogonato, King and Emperor of the Byzantine Empire.
Cross-Founded = Cross-Founded were called the Monasteries which were under the auspices of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. To establish this relationship with the Patriarchate, either the Patriarch himself or his representative placed an iron cross at the foundation of the monasteries during their construction which means that it is founded in Cross. Cross-Founded Monasteries were controlled by the Patriarchate and the Patriarch selected the Abbot of the Monastery. The Holy Monastery of Molyvdoskepastos remained Cross-Founded till at least 1907 when the Patriarch placed Abbot of the Monastery the Monk Venedikto. At some point (unknown when) the monastery was abandoned and it changed its status from Cross-Founder to Provincial. In other words, since then, it is under the auspices of the local Diocese.
Province of Konitsas = Because today the Holy Monastery of Molyvdoskepastos is under the auspices of the Holy Diocese of Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konitsa
Molyvdoskepastos = "Molyvi" means "leed" and "skepastos" means "covered". The roof of the monastery is all covered by lead.

Location
The monastery is located at the start of the eastern part of Mountain Nemertzika otherwise known by the locals as Meropi. River Aoos comes from the mountains of Pindos, from the area of Vovousi and Samarina. Outside of the monastery, Aoos river meets with river Voidomati, which comes from area of Vikos. Both rivers continue at the east of the monastery and a few hundred meters later, they intersect with river Sarantaporo which comes from Eptachori and Pentalofo.

The famous Egnatia Avenue, contracted during the Byzantine era, passed near by the monastery by the city of Leskoviki and joined Northern Epirus with Konista with the rest of Greece with the bridge of Mertzianis until this was closed in 1944.

History
The monastery was build in 670 a.c. by the Constantine D', The Pogonato, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire in other words before 1300 years. The roof was covered by leed giving the monastery the name of "Molyvdoskepastos" ["molyvi"="leed", "skepastos"="covered"] The leed was used by the Greeks to construct bullets against the Turks during the Ottoman Empire. After its destruction, the monastery was reconstructed in 1341 by Androniko Komnino Palaiologo. During the occupation of Greece by the Ottoman Empire, the monastery hosted schools that preserved the Greek language and culture. Until 1863 it served as Diocese of the Province of Pogoni. Today Christian visitors can stay at the Monastery. The monastery celebrates at August 15th. At the quad of the monastery, behind the Church, there is the burial place of the late Bishop Sevastianos, Metropolitan of Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konista (+1994). A statue of the Bishop is located at the garden of the Church of St. Kosma Aitolos in Konitsa

At the monastery one can purchase a book that covers the history of the monastery and the miracles attributed to the icon of Virgin Mary. The book is in Greek. The monastery's telephone number is 00 30 6550 61375. The monks may NOT speak English.

Quad of the Monastery

Location of the Monastery

Area Maps