When I visited Mega Spelaion in 1991 I was given a little booklet about the Monastery which was an updated version of a book published in 1957 written by Metropolitan Agathonikos. This series is a translation of this short book which covers the most important historical facts of this Monastery. It was already translated into English, but I have edited this translation a little bit for better readability. It is my goal to make this Monastery more well-known in English-speaking lands and encourage pilgrimage to this Holy Shrine of the Orthodox Church.
Below is the introduction written by Metropolitan Ambrose of Kalavryta and Aigialeia:
For the sake of the numerous, pious pilgrims to the historical Patriarchal and Royal Sacred Monastery of Mega Spelaion, who throng here from the ends of the world to venerate the sacred icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and Virgin Mary in order to receive her strength and grace and the health of soul and body, we undertake the publishing of this brief history of the founding of the Monastery for the following reason. Modern man needs brief narrations of the historic, sacred sites and religious monuments and shrines of our beloved fatherland, because on the one hand, he is daily flooded with masses of printed matter, and on the other hand, he no longer sets aside sufficient time for study.
Since we wished to remedy this need, we decided not to write a new history, but to publish a modern Greek translation of the well-known "Brief History of the Sacred Royal Monastery of Mega Spelaion" which was first published in 1957 under the auspices of our ever-memorable predecessor, the Metropolitan Agathonikos, and has had eleven successive editions, the latest in 1977. The tone of this little work is churchly, unaffected, and simple. Its purpose is to benefit the soul of the pilgrim and not to impress his intellect. Since we are of the opinion that modern man has a great need for precisely such a spirit of simplicity and evangelical innocense in order with humility to draw near to God in the heavens and to find his salvation, we decided to re-issue this already well-known text, translated by our esteemed associate, Mr. Evangelos Lekkos, a theologian and jurist. In addition, we are giving to this edition a more aesthetic form, in order to adjoin charm to edification.
We hereby deliver this text in English, for the sake of the foreign visitors to the Monastery. The translation is owed to the diligence and the labor of Mr. Peter Botsis, a writer, whom we cordially thank for his unselfish offer.
From what we have noted above, it becomes obvious this publication is not directed at researchers and archeoligists. It is offered only to those who arrive at the sacred cliff of the Great Cave as pilgrims to the sacred icon of the Most holy Theotokos and Virgin Mary, which was revealed miraculously centuries ago in this sacred Cave and which is named Speliotissa.
Turning our mind and heart piously towards Mary the Mother of God, we beseech in the words of our fathers: "O Lady, accept the petitions of your servants and deliver us from every necessity and distress."
Metropolitan of Kalavryta and Aigialeia
In the Sacred Monastery of Mega Spelaion,
August 15, 1988
To be continued...Part 2