September 24, 2019

Synaxis of the Panagia of Myrsinidi Monastery in Chios

The Sacred Monastery of the Panagia of Myrsinidi (or Mersini, or Myrtidiotissa) is built on the edge of a cliff which overlooks the Aegean Sea towards the Asia Minor coast and looks as if it rests upon its waves. Located just north of the town of Vrontados, it is seven kilometers from the island's capital. It is dedicated to Panagia Myrtidiotissa, which is celebrated on September 24, and is considered, along with the Nea Moni and the Monastery of Saint Menas, to be one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites of Chios.

The monastery was founded in 1887 by Hieromonk Christopher Seremelis. Christopher Seremelis was born in Vrontados in October of 1849, and from a young age felt called to live an ascetic life. In the place of his asceticism he found an icon of the Panagia. With the permission of the Metropolitan of Chios, he fulfilled his desire to build in July of 1887 a house of prayer on the cliff where the current monastery is located. The church took three years to build, built in a Byzantine style with a dome, and it was dedicated to the Panagia Myrtidiotissa. The consecration took place on July 4, 1900 by Metropolitan Constantine Deligiannis. Soon others decided to follow his example, so he built monastic cells to accommodate all those who desired to live a communal monastic life. Constantine was ordained an Archimandrite and he began to lead the monastic community as an abbot.

Along with his spiritual and social activities, Christopher also established a library in the monastery for which he gathered many valuable manuscripts and books. He would also go to the coast of Asia Minor and preach there the word of God. While doing this he would gather various precious treasures and relics which could find a home in his monastery, including an embroidered stole of Patriarch Gregory V of Constantinople, which is still kept in the monastery. The monastery follows the Rule of Saint Savvas the Sanctified.

In 1898 the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries in the village of Langada became a dependency of the monastery. The Church of Saint Makarios in Vrontados also belongs to the monastery, which was at one time a monastery dedicated to the Apostles peter and Paul. In 1904 he also built and consecrated another church at the monastery dedicated to his patron, Saint Christopher. He reposed on May 3, 1921 and was buried on the southwest side of the church.

The monastery offered valuable philanthropic services during the German occupation as well as during the resistance movement of World War II.