On the road to Chrysafa
and about eight kilometers outside Sparti,
on an altitude of 400 meters northeast there is the monastery
of Agii Tessarakonta Martyres. It was first founded on the 13th century on
the mountain of Stamatira (within the of Sofroni) and today only a small chapel
remains within a cave where the hagiography bares the signature of the painter
Constantine Manassis. Because of the difficult weather conditions as well as various
enemy attacks the monks moved into the current new position and built the monastery
in 1615. With time an entire monastery center was constructed with the full cooperation
and support of the local population who contributed for the erection of the new
During the difficult years a "hidden school" operated inside
the chapel of Zoodochos Pigi. In 1770 the chapel was blown up. Before the revolution
of 1821 the monastery was full of life and it’s wealth was substantial,
enough to employ numerous workers for the agricultural activities of the monastery.
The money that was gathered from those activities was often used as prisoners’
ransom payment and as a result after the end of the revolution the monastery ended
up in financial despair.
Theodoros Kolokotronis (the head of the revolution and generally believed
the father of the new nation) with a letter to the head of the monastery thanked
the monks for their support and their contribution to the fight of independence
from the Turks.
The wall paintings that are preserved till today (after the destruction
of 1770) were re-painted by the Crete priest and hagiographer Georgios Kalliterakis
following the commission of Paisios Zacharopoulos.
The folklore art gave the temple of the convent in the beginnings
of the 19th century. In 1980 the framed painting of the Agii Tessarakonta Martyres,
which is dated back to the 13th century, was stolen. Today in the convent are
kept various heirlooms and letters, one of which is the letter (a copy to be precise)
describing all the privileges of the monastery (which were the main reason why
all nearby monasteries wanted to be incorporated with the monastery of Agii Tessarakonta
Martyres). Also 82 handwriten documents exist in the the historical registry of
Sparti as well as various
The main chapel of the monastery (the Katholic) is a cross like church
with a cupola and honors the memory of the Agii Tessarakonta Martyres (Saint Tessarakonta
Martyrs). The monks in the monastery are mainly occupied with hagiography and
The main chapel of the monastery (the Katholic) is structured like
a cruciform with a dome (just like Agioritika) and honors the memory of the fallen
on the lake Sebastias Tessarakonta Martyres. In addition there are several holly
relics of several Saints. The monks nowadays are occupied with agriculture and
There are guestrooms in the convent for the convenience of the visitors.
Quite recently with the supervision of the Committee of Byzantine Antiques and
with the complete support of the Organization for the Employment of the Work Force,
parts of the monastery have been preserved and restored.
The monastery hosts the student camping associations of the Iera
Mitropolis of Monambasia and Sparti. It is indeed worthwhile to attend one
of the liturgies in the monastery. Days of festivity are the 9th May (Zoodochos
Pigi) and the 9th November (St Nektarios).