Listed 10 sub titles with search on: History
for wider area of: "SERRES
The historical note
The Holy Monastery of the Virgin Icosifinissa is built 753m above
sea level and lies in the thick north forest of Mount
Pangeo, on the road from Serres
to Kavala, just after the
village Kormista. It is one
of the 2 Holy areas in Eastern
Macedonia which continue to attract many believers, who came here to worship
the "Icon of Our Lady which is not made by hands" and to rest in the
The origin of the Monastery’s name, according to one of the
three versions, is due to the miraculous intervention of the Virgin, which resulted
in making the icon splendidly dark red colored.
During the period of Turkish rule, the Monastery was a shelter for
Orthodoxy and a center of the preservation and revitalization of Greek Nationalism
in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace,
resulting in the fury of the Turks, which was to be succeeded by the fury of the
Bulgarians. The Monastery has repeatedly faced destructive attacks and produced
According to some sources, the Bisthop of Filippi, "Sozon",
who took part at the 4th Ecumenical Synod (Chalkidona,
451), built a temple and a monastic settlement at a place called "Vigla",
50 m east from the existing Monastery and were the extant ruins of a tower provide
evidence of the former presence of an ancient fortress. The temple and the monastic
settlement were abandoned afterwards with the arrival of the first proprietor
of the Monastery, St. Germanos (518 A.C.), who while very young started to lead
an ascetic life at the Monastery of St. John, near the River Jordan in the Holy
Land. Since then and for many centuries, the history of the Monastery of Virgin
Mary Idosifinissa has been completely unknown. Archaeological findings lead to
the conclusion that during the 11th century the main church (katholikon) was rebuilt.
During the same period, the Monastery became STAVROPIGIAKI, that means responsible
to the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In 1472 the Ecumenical Patriarch St. Dionysios resigned from his throne
and came to the Monastery. The presence of this second proprietor lent great prestige
to the Holy Monastery. During his long stay at the Monastery he erected many new
buildings and repaired the old ones, giving the Monastery a new glamour. According
to written evidence of the 16th century, in 1507 24 holly monks lived in the Monastery.
These monks were traveling in Eastern
Macedonia and Thrace reinforcing the faith of Christians and dissuading islamizations.
These actions enraged the Turks, who on 25.08.1507 massacred all the 172 monks.
They did not destroy the church and the buildings, but the Monastery remained
desert and uninhabited for 13 years.
After the tragic occurrence of the slaughter, the Ecumenical Patriarchate
managed in 1510 (or in 1520 according to other sources) to obtain the permission
of the Sultan to reorganize the Monastery. Thus, with the help of ten monks from
the Holy Mount, just ten
years afterwards, 50 monks joined the Monastery but also deacons and holy monks
that undertook the leadership of the Monastery.
During the following years the Monastery became the cultural and national
center of Eastern Macedonia and
Thrace. It was in this Monastery that Emmanouil Papas put his men under oath
and declared the Revolution.
In former days the Monastery hosted a famous Hellenic School and the
library of the Monastery was a significant one. Before being looted by the Bulgarians
in 1917, the library housed some 1,300 printed books and priceless manuscripts.
During those centuries of growth many of the buildings of the Monastery were repaired
and new ones were built. During the second half of the 19th century the Monastery
faced significant difficulties: in 1845 a conflagration burned to ashes the west
wing and a part of the north one while in 1864 a cholera epidemic decimated the
monks. The Monastery was rebuilt thanks to the glorious Metropolitan Bishop of
Drama, Chrysostomos (1902-1910). The attacks of the Turks were succeeded by those
of the Bulgarians, who in 1917 despoiled the priceless treasures of the Monastery.
During the Second World War the Bulgarians, again completed the devastation, burning
the buildings of the Monastery in 1943. The rebuilding of the Monastery started
in 1965 and in a fifteen-year period achieved its present appearance. Today (1997)
the Monastery houses 25 Nuns. The feast days of the Monastery are on 15 August
to commemorate the Rood and on 21 November to commemorate the Presentation of
the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Temple.
This text (extract) is cited September 2003 from the Prefecture
of Serres tourist pamphlet.
Byzantine period (324-1453 AD)
The famed city of Serrhai was destroyed when the Bulgarians set it
on fire as they began their retreat in 1913. Its Byzantine monuments were consumed
by the flames, with the sole exception of the three-aisled 11th century basilica
of Ayioi Theodoroi, now reconstructed, which hints at the former wealth and culture
of the second most important city of Macedonia after Thessalonike.
The sturdy, solid walls of the acropolis still bear witness to the
size of medieval Serrhai. The town has a significant place in the history of the
12th and later centuries. It attained its greatest importance in the 14th century
during the conflict between Byzantium and the Serbian state; in 1345 Serrhai was
captured by the Serb ruler Stefan Dusan.
In 1371 the then ruler of the city, the Serb John Ugliesa, was defeated
in the battle of Maritsa (Evros
River) in his attempt to uphold the rights of the entire Orthodox world against
By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.
Catastrophes of the place
Of the civil war
Battles of Beles
During the civil war there were vehement attacks to the mountain.
The Prehistoric period
The area of the estuary of the Strymon
River, with its natural wealth, offered favourable conditions of life and
establishment since prehistoric times. Findings from the settlement of the hill
133, form the cemetery of the settlement on the neighbouring Hill of Kasta and
other nearby sites, evidence the strong presence of man from the Middle Neolithic
period to the Early Iron Age (5000 BC-750 BC).
The Early historical times
From the middle of the 7th century BC, with the establishment of the
Greek cities by the estuary of the Stymon
River, begins the progressive penetration of the Greeks in Thrace,
as evidenced by the Attic and Corinthian vases found in tombs of the Archaic period.
The first signs of colonization in the area of Amphipolis (= Nine Roads) date
back to the first half of the 5th century BC.
The Classical and Hellenistic periods
The foundation of Amphipolis in 437 BC, under Pericles Age, represented
a great success for the Athenians who were trying for years, to gain a lodgement
in the wealthy inland. However, a few years later (422 BC), the city gains its
independence and it preserves it until it is integrated by Philip II 357 BC) in
the Kingdom of Macedonia.
Within the Macedonian Kingdom, Amphipolis continues its important trade and cultural
activities. Special importance was also granted to the sanctuaries. Its economy
was based on its agricultural population which cultivated the "fertile valley
of the Strymon". Among the inhabitants of the city, many were merchants,
artisans and slaves. The active commercial life of the city reflects in the rich
collection of coins as well as in the establishment of a royal mint during the
Macedonian period. The prosperity of the city is supported by the production of
local pottery, sculptures and small artifacts which echo the daily life of the
city. Very important inscriptions, including an "ephebic law" on a stele,
date from that period and furnishes precious information on the "education
of the youth".
The Roman period
After the conquest of Macedonia
by the Romans (168 BC), Amphipolis was made capital of the first administrative-economic
unit (merida) of Macedonia. The Roman period is for Amphipolis a period of prosperity
under Roman sovereignty. As a stop along the Via Engatia route and enjoying the
support of roman emperors, such as Augustus and Hadrian, the city prospers economically
as evidenced by the monuments with mosaic floors, the sculpture works, the pottery
and other findings brought to light by the excavations.
The Early Christian period
By the end of the Ancient age (4th century AD), the city expanse is
reduced. However, the transfer of the capital of the Roman state to Constantinople
and the consecration of Christianity as official religion, favours the dynamic
course of life of Amphipolis during the Early Christian centuries, as evidenced
by the Early Christian basilicas, the artistic mosaic and the remarkable architectural
adornment. The plague of the 6th century AD and the movements of Slav populations
afterwards, lead to a new shrinkage of Amphipolis which disintegrates as urban
The Byzantine period
After the 9th century AD, building activity shifts to the estuary
of the Strymon river where an important city-harbour develops, known as Chrysoupolis.
A small settlement, Marmarion, develops over the ruins of Amphipolis, on the north-west
fringes of the hills, to serve the needs of the travelers crossing the Strymon
River at "Marmario Ford".
The Post Byzantine period
The last reference to Marmario is made in 1547 AD by the traveler
P. Belon. Since the 18th century, a new village, the village of Neohorion is mentioned
to be located on the site of Marmario. In the beginning of the Ottoman period,
Chrysoupolis remained the basic urban and commercial centre of the area, later
on followed by the smaller in size ottoman fortress of Orfanio, 6 km to the east
and 3 km from the coast. The commercial and industrial activity continued in the
delta and the mouth of the Strymon
River throughout the Tourkokratia (Turkish dominion).
This text (extract) is cited August 2003 from the Prefecture
of Serres tourist pamphlet.
Pieria - Phagres
This was effected by the expulsion from Pieria of the Pierians, who afterwards inhabited Phagres and other places under Mount Pangaeus, beyond the Strymon lpar;indeed the country between Pangaeus and the sea is still called the Pierian gulf.
- Perseus: Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (ed. Richard Crawley, 1910)
Galepsus, a colony of Thasos
The Peace of Nicias
Cleon, the most prominent and influential leader at Athens after the Athenian victory at Pylos in 425, was dispatched to northern Greece in 422 to try to stop Brasidas. As it happened, both he and Brasidas were killed before Amphipolis in 422 B.C. in a battle won by the Spartan army. Their deaths deprived each side of its most energetic military commander and opened the way to negotiations. Peace came in 421 B.C. when both sides agreed to resurrect the balance of forces just as it had been in 431 B.C. The agreement made in that year is known as the Peace of Nicias after the name of the Athenian general Nicias, who was instrumental in convincing the Athenian assembly to agree to a peace treaty. The Spartan agreement to the peace revealed a fracture in the coaltion of Greek states allied with Sparta against Athens and its allies because the Corinthians and the Boetians refused to join the Spartans in signing the treaty.
This text is from: Thomas Martin's An Overview of Classical Greek History from Homer to Alexander,
Yale University Press. Cited Oct 2002 from
Perseus Project URL below, which contains bibliography & interesting hyperlinks.
The place was conquered by:
Lakedaimonians under Brasidas, 424 BC
Atheninas under Cleon, 422 BC