November 24, 2010

The Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa in Amorgos

It is the most bright ornament and the patron of Amorgos. This monastery, which is dedicated to the Panagia, is built on the steepest rock of the Prophet Elias mountain, 300 metres above sea level, south of Chora (the capital). It brings feelings of awe when one beholds it and one wonders how these people using primitive tools managed to build this architectural masterpiece that decorates the beautiful island of Amorgos.

According to tradition, this monastery dates from the 9th century and was built by Palestinian monks from Chozeba Monastery (hence the name Hozoviotissa, or "of Chozeba"). These monks had brought the icon to preserve it against the invasions of foreign enemies. In 1088 the emperor Alexios Komninos enlarged the monastery considerably.

Crowds of people from all over the world visit the island to marvel at the Monastery's unparalelled beauty. Every year at the celebration of the Entrance of the Theotokos Into the Temple on the 21st of November, there is a big festival and food and sweets are offered to visitors made by both the men and women of the island.