October 19, 2019

Hesychasterion of the Prophet Joel in Kalamata

A hesychasterion is a small cell or hermitage where intensive hesychasm is practiced, distinct from the cenobitic life of a monastery. Τhe Hesychasterion of the Prophet Joel is in Fares or Giannitsanika in eastern Kalamata and is the only one of this type of monastic life that belongs to the Metropolis in Messinia.

The Hesychasterion was founded in 1962 by Archimandrite Joel Yiannakopoulos and two nuns, with whose money the property was purchased and cells were built. The church in the Hesychasterion of the Prophet Joel was founded in 1963 and was consecrated a year later; it is of Byzantine cross-style with a dome, and is dedicated to the Prophet Joel. It therefore celebrates on October 19th, when the Orthodox Church celebrates the Saint.

The small museum in the Hesychasterion of the Prophet Joel has been created by the nuns where they keep sacred icons and other sacred objects.

The female Hesychasterion of the Prophet Joel was tested in the big earthquake of 1986, when 80 % of the buildings collapsed, but with the help of donors new chapels were created as well as new cells and new auxiliary rooms.

Archimandrite Joel Yiannakopoulos had been in his youth a spiritual child of the well-known ascetic of Kalamata Elias Panagoulakis, and was also awarded by the Academy of Athens for his scholarly work in the interpretation of the Bible, especially the Old Testament. He reposed on the 23rd of December 1966 and is entombed near the main church of the monastery.