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August 23, 2010

The Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa in Kastoria

The Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa (Greek: Παναγία Μαυριώτισσα) is a monastery that is built on the spot where troops of Roman military commander George Palaiologos encircled the attacking Normans in 1083. It is believed that the emperor Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081-1118) built the monastery there to commemorate the event and to honor the Panagia to whom he ascribed the victory. 
Surrounding the region of the lake of Kastoria there are 72 churches and chapels, Mavriotissa being one of the earliest of them. The monastery was initially named Mesonesiotissa ("in the middle of the island") and in the beginning of the 17th century it renamed itself to Krepenitissa ("of Krepeni") after the name of the nearby village Krepeni. Sometime from the middle to late 17th century it changed its name to Mavriotissa ("of Mavrovo") after the Greek village Mavrovo near Kastoria. 
The monastery was a significant landowner in the village of Krepeni. It was occupied at one time by many monks. It no longer functions as a monastery and up until recently was in severe disrepair. In 1998 Metropolitan Seraphim of Kastoria undertook a restoration of the monastery and began celebrating services once again. Its feast day is August 23, the Apodosis of the Dormition of the Theotokos, and is celebrated with an all-night vigil in which many faithful attend.  
Καστορίας της λίμνης Κυρία πάνσεμνε, η δωρουμένη την νίκην κατά βαρβάρων ορδών ευσεβέσι, Θεοτόκε Μαυριώτισσα, πάντας αξίωσον πιστούς θριαμβεύσαι τον εχθρόν και πέμψον σην ευλογίαν και χάριν τοις προσκυνούσι την θαυματόβρυτον εικόνα σου.