LOCATION OF THE MONASTERY
The holy Monastery of Damasta is dedicated to the “
day of Virgin Mary” and celebrates every eight of September (08/09). Natal
It is located in the north mountainsides of Kallidromos and it is
740 meters above sea
level. It is also at 23
kilometers distance from the capital of the prefecture
Fthiotida – the historical city of .
The Monastery is located to the most
wonderful place which makes it a spectacular balcony to the plain of Sperchios,
which lay between mountain Iti and Orthi and towards Maliakos bay. Lamia
DATE OF CREATION OF THE MONASTERY
Unfortunately there has not been saved any documentary evidence for the exact date of the creation of the monastery. According to the architectural shape of the catholic, archeologically is established around
NAMING OF THE MONASTERY
There are two versions for its name.
The tradition wants the naming of the Monastery to become from the place of descent of the wonder-working Icon of Virgin Mary.
It is said that the Icon has been arrived from the city of
Damaskos (of ) during the War of Icons (726- Syria 843 a.C.).
During this period terrible persecutions have been made by the Iconoclasts.
Many iconolaters have been sought for shelter into safer places of the mainland
carrying with them the wonder-working Icon
of Virgin Mary. One of the icons has been also hosted here to the
mountainsides of Kallidromos. At first it has been named as “Virgin
the Damaska”. With the passing of time and the corruption of the word has
resulted in the new name “Damasta”. Greece
Another possible version of the naming of the Monastery becomes from the etymological analysis of the word.
The word “Damasta” derives from the greek verb “damazo” ( which means bring to heel, subdue). The Icon of Virgin Mary has taken the title tamer for her numerous miracles. She is the Tamer of the human pain, of the sterility and other diseases. With the passing of time has gone down in history as the “Monastery of Damasta”.
NATIONAL OFFER OF THE MONASTERY
a) During Greek War of
of 1821 Independence
The “Monastery of Damasta” has been an heroic and martyric rampart for the revolutionaries of Fthiotida during the spring of the year 1821. Great figures of Greek History that had become legends, have given vows for the liberation of their country in front of the Icon of Virgin Mary.
The camp of the war chief of Alamana, Athanasios Diakos, the chieftain Panourgias and the Bishop of Salona, Isaia had its seat at the “Monastery of Damasta”- which considering its position - constitute a natural observation post on whatever happens to the east side of the plain of Sperchios. It was the rampart for many chieftains, among them Diovouniotis. When Panourgias was injured, he took refuge in the Monastery having with him 400 men and in his possession the Chalkomata. Here also under the shadow of the Monastery passed away the heroic Bishop of Salona, Isaia screaming “Virgin Damasta save at least my country”. In the battle of Alamana the Father Superior Neofytos and the monks stood by the side of Athanasios Diakos. They were about 15-25 persons which have fought with great courage, according to local tradition. Most of them had been killed in battles. Later at 1834 the Monastery had been dissolved because it did not gather the requisite number of monks ( at least 6).
The Monastery of Damasta had been the shelter of the miserable Greek people and also the center of the army.
b) The offer of the monastery during the years 1940-1944
The contribution of the Monastery has been great for the support of the Greek people and the allies. The winter of the years 1941-1942 they took refuge in the Monastery 12 allies soldiers of
. The Father Superior Evlogios
Morfis offered them shelter and food for days, until they escaped by the New
Zealand . port of Stilida
His offer has been punished by the conquerors. The Italians soldiers went to the Monastery at January of 1942 and found the arms and the ammunitions of the allies. They arrested him and send him to jail “Averof” for two years.
After the end of the war the Minister of the government of
send a letter of thanks as a sign of gratitude. New Zealand
Father Superior Evlogios after being discharged from prison returned to the monastery of Damasta until 1953. Later this year, the Monastery changed into Nunnery, with Kassiani Andriotou as the Mother Superior and six more sisters.
(The letter of thanks by
to the Monastery. New Zealand
THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MONASTERY
The Royal Decree of the King Othona at 25 September of 1833 dissolved many monasteries of
According to it the monasteries that did not have more than six (6) monks had
to be abolished. Their property also had to be devolved to the Greek
government. After the Greek War of Independance the monks which returned were
very little. The “Monastery of Damasta”
was one of the most destroyed, which could not touch the requisite number of
monks, as is by law enacted. Many protests have been made by neighbouring municipalities
to the King Othona. Unfortunately none of them had been heard by the powerful Royal Secretariat. The whole Supervision was confided to the Greece . Municipality of Iteoi
THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MONASTERY
The grace of Virgin Mary would not let the monastery un-helped.
The Presidential Decree of 3rd August 1934 - signed by the President of Greek Republic Alexandros Zaimis and the Minister of Education John Makropoulos - offered the opportunity for the “re-establishment of the Monastery”. Until then it was fused to the Monastery Antinitsi.
Father Superior was the archimandrite Kirillos Konstantinidis named by the Ecumenical Synod. By this way the monastery took life again and managed to create a small in number fraternity. In 1936 the Father Superior Kirillos has been replaced by the Archimandite Evlogios Leonidas Morfis who begun his monastic life in the
( A picture of the Monastery in the old days. It also represents the Metropolite Amvrosios of Fthiotida)
DESCRIPTION OF THE CATHOLIC OF THE MONASTERY
The catholic of the Monastery is dedicated to the Birth of Virgin Mary. The exact date of its construction cannot been defined with certainty since we do not have any written testimony. Although we estimate, according to its architectural construction, that its establishment dates from
The monastery has the type of cruciform with dome, having its west part of the cross elongated, in order that the building takes the shape of Royal Cross with dome.
Above the side apartments, instead of groined-vault, exist blinds vaults that can be distinguished only by the inside of the Monastery.
(The catholic of the Monastery of Damasta)
The first narrative must be put around the period of the construction. The Monastery had been destroyed, so as its first iconography.
The second one has been made on the eve of the Greek War of Independence of 1821 as shown on the carved remembrance above the main entrance of the Monastery.
“THE PRESENT HOLY AND DIVINE CHURCH OF THE HOLY AND DIVINE MONASTERY OF VIRGIN MARY IS HISTORIATED BY THE CONTRIBUTION OF MISTER CAPTAIN JOHN DIOVOUNIOTIS AND UNDER THE PRELACY OF THE BISHOP OF ZITOUNI, MISTER THEOPHANOUS AT 1818, 15 DECEMBER, MADE BY THE HAND OF GEORGIOS”
By the narration of hagiographer Georgios, are saved the murals of aerials and of the dome. The rest of the murals were destroyed by humidity and they were re-painted by the hagiographer Apostolidis in 1913, as it reveals the sign on a window at the north side of the
«THE WHOLE HAGIOGRAPHY WAS REPAIRED - HISTORIATED AS ANCIENT TYPE - EXCEPT FROM THE DOME IN YEAR 1913 WITH THE CARE OF MAYOR IRAKLIOU MISTER GRITZA OF ABBOT THEOFILOS SKAFTOURAS AND CHURCH-WARDEN GEORGIOS GIOTOPOULOS, LOUKAS GEORGIOU AND ACHILEOS ANAGNOSTOY BY THE HAND OF APOSTOLIDIS»
The temple is woodcut with elaborate representations. Its pictures have been historiated by the Abbey Paraklitou of Oropos / Attiki as also as the mural in vestibutle. The miraculous Icon of Virgin Mary is found in marble-made icon-stand. The casing of the Icon is silvered of 19th century, according to the sign existing at the left bottom of the Icon and is dated from 19th century (1892).
(To woodcut temple of catholic. At the left, the Icon of Virgin Mary of Damasta).
A) Inside the precinct of Monastery
· Saint and Avowed Ilarionos (celebrates 21 of October)
· Saint Ioanis of Damaskos (celebrates 4 of December)
· Saint Dimitrios of Miroblitos (celebrates 26 of October)
· Saint Kassianos of
29 of February) Rome
· Saint Konstantinos and Helen (celebrate 21 of May)
V) Outside of Monastery
As we are leaving the direction of Amfissa and we are going in the direction of the Monastery we see the chapel of Sacred-Virgin-Martyr Paraskevi. According to tradition here the Turks arrested Athanasios Diakos.
(woodcut temple at the chapel of Saint Dimitrios)
(woodcut temple at the chapel of Saint Konstantinos and Helen)
THE MIRACLES OF VIRGIN MARY OF DAMASTA
The miracles of Virgin Mary are numerous. We will report two typicals:
v In the city of
, a grand mother was bearing
up her own cross. Her wedded son had a non-christened girl. The parents
of child became martyres of Jehovah and abandoned the sick child in the grand
mother. When she was five years old her condition aggravated. The grand mother
and the little girl went to the Itea .
The doctors claimed that the child was already dead. The grand mother insisted on
making her autopsy, in order to detect the cause of her death. The doctors said
that only at the hospital of Amfissa was that
possible. So the grand mother took the decision to take her there. As soon as
they reached the carrefour that leads to the Monastery of Damasta, the grand
mother remembered that it was 8 September and that they celebrate Her
Grace. She said to the driver to go
first at the Monastery for kneeling in worship for Her. The police officers did not allow her to reach the Monastery. So
grand mother went out of the taxi and begged in her knees, with
teardrops in her eyes, Virgin Mary to make her miracle, and bring back to life her granddaughter.
No more than two hundred meters, the little girl opened her eyes and began to
shout "Grand mother, grand mother the Virgin
Mary keeps me from the hand ". The
little girl had been brought back in life. The parents of child as soon as they
were informed of the miracle, returned back, held their child in their arms and
returned in the bosom of Orthodoxy.
Finally the parents baptized their child at the Monastery of Damasta. hospital
vTypicals are also the miracles of Virgin Mary for hop less mothers that after many years, managed to have child. But also in serious illnesses the Virgin Mary appeared and offered them healing and asked them to visit and kneel in worship for Her.
Mosaic above the gate of Monastery
Mosaic of Angels at the entry of Monastery
Mosaic in the interior side of the gate of Monastery
Mosaic in the springs of the yard
«The Icon of Birthday of Virgin Mary» Wall-painting in the porch of Catholic.