September 1, 2016

Synaxis of Panagia Katapoliani in Tinos

Panagia Katapoliani (Feast Day - September 1)

The Convent of Panagia Katapoliani, which is not currently operating, was originally built in 1708 by the foreign nun Theodouli the daughter of Francisco Koukoulas. Her companions in this effort were the nuns Theodosia the daughter of Francisco Giannakakis, Makaria the daughter of John Kolaros, Magdalene the daughter of George Darvis and Theonyfi the daughter of Nicholas Gkizis. These nuns submitted an application (2 May 1708) to the Venetian proveditor Francesco Beregan to obtain government authorization for the establishment of the Monastery, which they acquired a few days later on May 12th. In February of 1709, Bishop Peter Martyr Giustiniani of Tinos gave permission to colonize the Monastery with other nuns, who would have to live in the Monastery under the regulations of the Convent of Saint Nicholas in Vanis, Tinos. He made Theodouli abbess, who was to govern the Monastery under her discretion. The nuns had acquired ownership of the property and had adequate means for a decent living there.

The Monastery, after the death of these nuns, became desolate and deserted, and in such a state was it found by the nun Melanthia.

Melanthia came from a wealthy family of Crete, and decided to leave her homeland and become a nun in the Cyclades. She became a nun in Paros, at the Monastery of Panagia Ekatontapyliani, which is so named for its "Hundred Gates," and later decided to continue her monastic life at the Monastery of Kechrovouni in Tinos. She always had a desire within her to build a monastery dedicated to the Panagia, so when she came upon the ruined Chapel of the Entrance of the Theotokos, near Ysternia, she knew she had found the ideal location.

From her personal fortune, together with collections made in Constantinople, she managed to build the Monastery in around 1783. Melanthia also managed to acquire its patriarchal recognition as stavropegic from the Ecumenical Patriarch Gabriel IV (1780-1785) and later from Patriarch Gregory V (November 1806).

The Monastery operated with a few nuns, and each abbess gave her successor the inheritance of the property of the Monastery, even though Melanthia had bequeathed the Monastery as a dependency of the Monastery of Saint Katherine in Sinai, as is clear from subsequent testimonies. Finally, in 1925, the two nuns Kassiani Renieri and Theophano Renieri donated the Monastery to the Parish Church of Saint Paraskevi in Ysternia of Tinos.

The name of the Monastery is a shortened form of Panagia Ekatontapyliani in Paros, where the nun Melanthia began her monastic life.