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Macedonia | Kastoria | Kastoria City

Kastoria Byzantine Churches

They are to be seen everywhere in Kastoria: some 75 of them, well-placed in prominent positions or hidden in the greenery of the back alleys or, still worse, sort of buried under the aesthetically imposing weight of more modern constructions.

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery:
Jesus entering Jerusalem

They are renovated and well taken care of, or left to collapse; open to the public or with gates shut, locked with rusty padlocks; with all their panes in place or smashed by irresponsible young children's stone throwing; with their frescos preserved or with their saints' eyes gaping wide empty, blinded in the past by fanatics more blind to their beauty and artistic value than the blinded icons they left behind. Like people, they share the odds of being lucky or unlucky, created and having to survive under a lucky star or in ages non-permissive to their beauty.

But, they are here! The two-dimensional world of their frescoes has, against all odds, survived and, given the proper attention, it could turn out a real artistic, historic and aesthetic treasure to rejoice. It could point to a so desperately needed way out for our multi-dimensional, disillusioned and frustrated world. Let the masterpieces shown in these photos be admired and respected the way they deserve!


Please refer to this Photo Album from time to time to see it growing!
(Photos and Text: Michael Tziotis)

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Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.

Byzantine Monastery of Panayia Mavriotissa

The Holy Monastery of Panayia Mavriotissa must have been built from 1081 until 1118, i.e. during the time Alexios A Komninos was Head of the Byzantine Empire. The construction follows the architectural Order of a Single-room Vassiliki with a wooden roof. In the same complex there are newer buildings, one that serves as a museum, and a chapel dedicated to Aghios Ioannis Theologos. The frescoes on the eastern wall of Monastery Katholikon are of the first half of the 12th century, the rest are dated a little later. Some of the frescoes are also on the outside of the church walls, according to the local Macedonian tradition. Despite the extensive damage that the frescoes suffered during the period of the Turkish occupation, they continue to convey a deep feeling of piety and religious respect. More on this we have mentioned in the opening notes to this Album. But, a visit to this monastery is a must, not only because of its artistic and historical value, but on account of its location by the lakeside road as well, in an environment worth your visit anyway. The promenade to it leaves you with the most unforgettable impressions!


Panoramic Photo of Kastoria

Panoramic Photo of Kastoria


On the right end of the photo, by the lake, the Monastery of Panayia Mavriotissa can be distinguished.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery Sign

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery Sign
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


Bell-Tower and Museum to the left, Chapel of St Ioannis Theologos to the right.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


Chapel of St Ioannis Theologos and telephone booth to the right.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


Chapel of St Ioannis Theologos entrance
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Fresco by the entrance of the St Ioannis Theologos chapel

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Fresco by the entrance of the St Ioannis Theologos chapel
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


Vandalized Frescoes with Saints
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


The Holy Cross on top of the iconostasis
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


The Holy Gate to the Sanctum Sanctorum part of the chapel
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The miracle of Jesus calming down the lake storm

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The miracle of Jesus calming down the lake storm
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The miracle of Jesus calming down the lake storm

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The miracle of Jesus calming down the lake storm


And behold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves, but he was asleep. And they came to him, and awaked him, saying: Lord, save us, we perish.
And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm. But the men wondered, saying: What manner of man is this, for the winds and the sea obey him?
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery, The Miracles of Jesus: Jesus resurrecting Jairus' daughter

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery, The Miracles of Jesus: Jesus resurrecting Jairus' daughter


Jairus, a major patron of a synagogue, asks Jesus to heal his daughter, but while Jesus is on his way, men tell Jairus that his daughter has died. Jesus says she was only sleeping and wakes her up with the word Talitha koum!.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


Figures of Saints
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus Meeting the Demons

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus Meeting the Demons


And when he was come on the other side of the water, into the country of the Gerasens, there met him two that were possessed with devils, coming out of the sepulchres, exceeding fierce, so that none could pass by that way. And behold they cried out, saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was, not far from them, an herd of many swine feeding. And the devils besought him, saying: If thou cast us out hence, send us into the herd of swine. And he said to them: Go. But they going out went into the swine, and behold the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea: and they perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled: and coming into the city, told every thing, and concerning them that had been possessed by the devils.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery


Detail from the previous photo
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus' Third Temptation in the Desert

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus' Third Temptation in the Desert


The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. {9} "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Get thee behind me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracle of Jesus healing the ten lepers

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracle of Jesus healing the ten lepers


Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" So when He saw them, He said to them, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus


The wedding at Cana and the cure of the paralytic. Please look at the two photos that follow
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus - The Wedding at Cana

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus - The Wedding at Cana


When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." Jesus said to her, "Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told them, "Fill the jars with water." So they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, "Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter." So they took it.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus - The Healing of the Paralytic at Bethesda

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus - The Healing of the Paralytic at Bethesda


Jesus saw this man lying down, and he knew that he had been waiting for a long time; so he said to him, Do you wish to be healed? The sick man answered, saying, Yes, my Lord; but I have no man, when the water is stirred up, to put me into the baptismal pool...
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus - The healing of the blind man in Siloam

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Miracles of Jesus - The healing of the blind man in Siloam


As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Teacher,” his disciples asked him, “Why was this man born blind? Was it a result of his own sins or those of his parents?” “It was not because of his sins or his parent’s sins,” Jesus answered. “He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him". Then He spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smoothed the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam”
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The handling by the Apostle Thomas

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The handling by the Apostle Thomas


A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
The handling by the Apostle Thomas

The handling by the Apostle Thomas


Icon on sale on the internet, with the same theme and positioning of the saints involved as the fresco on the previous photo
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus and the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus and the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well


So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. And Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. For his disciples were gone away into the city to buy food. (John 4)
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The healing of Simon's mother-in-law

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The healing of Simon's mother-in-law


Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon's mother- in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her, rebuked the fever and it left her.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus entering Jerusalem

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Jesus entering Jerusalem


It happened several days before the Passover festival, and the crowds of pilgrims who had come for the festival went out to meet him "with palm branches in their hands, shouting , 'Hosanna! blessed is the king of Israel!" (John 12:13).
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: La Cena Secreta (The Secret Dinner)

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: La Cena Secreta (The Secret Dinner)
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Crucifiction

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Crucifiction
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Lamentations

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Lamentations


The noble Joseph, when he had taken down Thy most pure Body from the tree, wrapped it in fine linen, and anointed it with spices, and placed it in a new tomb.
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Saints Achillios of Larissa and Efstathios of Antiochia

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: The Saints Achillios of Larissa and Efstathios of Antiochia
Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Saint Ioannis, Bishop of Alexandria, the alms-donor and Saint Ioannis, Archbishop of Constantinople, the faster

Panayia Mavriotissa Monastery: Saint Ioannis, Bishop of Alexandria, the alms-donor and Saint Ioannis, Archbishop of Constantinople, the faster


They both lived in the end of the 6th and beginning of the 7th century

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