August 4, 2011

The Monastery of Panagia Panachrantos in Andros

The Monastery of Panagia Panachrantos in Andros was established by Emperor Nikephoros Phokas in the tenth century.

It's origins go back to the discovery of the Sacred Icon of Panagia Panachrantos by two ascetics living in a nearby cave, who every night would see a bright light in the area where the Monastery stands today. The two ascetics found the icon in a cave by tracing the source of the strange light, and after venerating it brought it back to their monastic cell. At night, however, the icon would return to its original cave. This happened many times. Enlightened by the grace of the Theotokos, the two ascetics abandoned their monastic cells and settled near the cave where the icon established itself. The All Pure One (the literal translation of "Panachrantos") indicated to the monks to build the first church there to house the Sacred Icon, and the Monastery was eventually established around this church.

The Katholikon (central church) of the Monastery is cross-shaped with a dome and dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, celebrating its feast day on August 15th. Some believe the Sacred Icon of Panagia Panachrantos is the work of the Evangelist Luke. Since this church also houses the skull of Saint Panteleimon, it also celebrates on his feast day which is July 27th.

The Monastery is famous also for being the final resting place of Monk Christophoros, or "Papoulakos", in the 19th century, and a recent miracle from May of 2009 where the skulls of former monastics were discovered on the grounds of the Monastery together with many which have been exuding a fragrant myrrh.