Ships and Ferries to the island of Nisyros in the DodecaneseTravel Information for ferries to Nisyros. Island of Nisyros Dodecanese.
NISYROS > CHURCHES & MONASTERIES
CHURCHES & MONASTERIES
Panagia Spiliani is the most important monastery on the island. It was named Spiliani (“spilia”=cave) because it is built inside a cave.
After ascending the 130 stairs starting from the settlement and passing the imposing entrance, we find ourselves inside the courtyard of Spiliani. There are cells, a library, a hostel, a foodhall, a study and a shop with ecclesiastic souvenirs. The sanctuary is built inside the cave’s cavity and includes the main temple of Assumption and the Agios Haralambos Chapel. The marble parts of the chancel screen are adorned with geometrical motifs and date from the 11th century. They are part of the temple’s older chancel screen which was supposedly transferred there from a nearby church. Today’s chancel screen, built in 1725, is wood-carven and is an adaptation of the old one.
Panagia Spiliani celebrates annually on 15th of August with a grand festival, the highlight of the year for Nisyros. Many significant ecclesiastical heirlooms from the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani are exhibited in the Ecclesiastical Museum of Nisyros.
Of all the icons in the chancel screen, the most impressive is the one of “Dexiokratousa Theotokos” (Mother of God, holding Christ in her right hand), with Christ as an infant giving his blessing. According to the inscription, the silver plating was made in 1798. It was recently discovered that the back side also bears an icon of the 14th century. It is a very rare representation of Saint Nicolas of remarkable artistry, according to Byzantinologist, Elias Kollias.
It is a monastery complex that was designated as an historical monument in 1951. According to tradition, it is connected to the monastery of Karpathos which bears the same name, Panagia Kyra of Karpathos and that justifies the fact that many locals still call it Karpathia. It is said that in the 16th century a small icon of the Holy Mary (Panagia) was sent from the monastery of Karpathos to Istanbul to be plated with silver. On the way back the ship sank and the icon was washed ashore on the coast of Nisyros. The woman who found it on her way to Emporeios saw a vision of the Holy Mary, who led her to dig in a spot near the monastery’s current location. When she did, she discovered the spring which exists to this day. Thus, the monastery was built by the inhabitants as a gesture of gratitude and devotion.
The monastery complex of Panagia Kyra has had many abbots and was renovated several times. It was given its current form in 1841. The temple is classified as a rectangular single-nave basilica. The complex includes the monks’ cells and various rooms which, along with the temple, form a lovely cloister. Covered with vineyards and adorned with arches and combinations of white and green, it is the ideal place for those seeking peace and quiet.
It is also the place of the grand festival of the 15th of August, at which food is served and festivities are held for two days.
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