Monastery of Faneromi Lefkas
Panoramic views from pine clad hill.
The beautiful Monastery of Faneromi is one of the most important religious centres on the island of Lefkas and makes for a delightful and interesting visit.
Set on a pine-clad hill above the capital town of Lefkada, the Monastery of Faneromeni, dedicated to the Virgin Mary (Panagia) has panoramic views over the whole area.
The monastery has a long history. Building work started in 1634 on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to Greek goddess of hunting Artemis, it is believed that students of Apostle Paul were among the first to preach here many centuries ago.
The Monastery of Faneromi is located near the village of Fryni, about three kilometres south-west of Lefkada and, being one of the oldest and most historic of churches on the island, it gets thousand of visitors each year.
The Greek word 'faneromi' translates as 'revealed' and tradition has it that the image of the Virgin Mary appeared miraculously on the first icon ever painted for the monastery.
The original icon was destroyed in a fire and the current one is a copy painted by a monk on Halkidiki's Mount Athos in 1887.
The iconostasis was also carved in 1887 and its icons were painted by the brothers Christodoulos and Thomas Zografos from Epiros in 1919.
Also, to the front of the iconostasis, are paintings by Greek artist Leonidas Sideris which features scenes from the New Testament.
The monastery has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in its history but it was the Venetians who determined its current shape around 1734.
A fire in 1886 destroyed the entire katholikon and the rebuilding later in the century shows a strong influence of traditional Zante architecture.
The monastery has been renovated in recent years with a new wing of cells was constructed together with new apartments for the abbot, a meeting area, a library and a chapel dedicated to Agios Silouan the Athonite.
The new building also has an ecclesiastical museum with traditional exhibits of icons, religious vestments, vessels and books exhibited over three floors. The monastery sells Christian books and has a small guest room for pilgrims.