Near the Town of Skopelos There are 15 Monasteries and more that 40 over the whole Island.
The monasteries are closely connected with the history and traditions of Skopelos island. Monastery is characterized the totalitarian of all the buildings wherein live monks, nuns or extensive members of a religious community. Monasteries comprise of a main church (called Catholicon), chapels, the monks' cells, guest houses, the Trapeza (dining room), the kitchen, the library, etc. Coenobium operating, require common mass, prayer, housing, dining and work for all the monks/nuns. Besides this, however, the monasteries constitute cultural monuments unique, not only for Skopelos and Orthodoxy, but Greece and the entire world.
Monastery of Evaggelistria
Evangelistria Monastery [Evangelismos (Annunciation) of Virgin Mary] is built on the ruins of an old Byzantine Monastery by the efforts of the Skopelite monk Kaisarios Daponte and belongs to the Monastery Xiropotamou of Mount Athos. There are old icons of the 14th century to be seen and the Temple Screen is covered with gold leaf which was crafted in an artisan studio of Constantinople. The few nuns who lived in the monastery made beautiful works of folk art and admirable tapestries. Currently is leading a monastic life an elderly nun. Day of grand feast: 25th March and 6th December. Tel: 24240 22394
Monastery of St. Riginos
You should certainly visit the Monastery of St. Riginos, the patron saint of the island, located 2 km northwest of the Hora Skopelos. According to legend the monastery was built on the ruins of a Byzantine church, in 1728. The "Catholikon" (part of the Holy Liturgy) in the Temple was a vaulted nave basilica, which was demolished to build the large cruciform church.
The cells are located in the southwest corner and is now dilapidated. On the west side is the tomb of Bishop of Skopelos Riginos, who was martyred in 362 AD and later declared a Saint. There is a small stone sarcophagus, which dates from 4 A.D century and houses the sacred relics of St.Riginos. Behind the church there are fragments of columns derived from the ancient Doric temple. Close by, there is a fountain that supplies water to the monastery. In the monastery cells still remain old pictures of the “Catholikon”, antimnisia and other ancient relics. Day of grand feast: 25th February.
Monastery of Prodromos (St. John the Baptist)
At the top of the mountain called Palouki, northeast of Skopelos, is the monastery of St. John the Baptist, founded in 1612 by the monk and its first abbot , Simeon. Upon his written request, obtained the appointment of a “Patriarchal Stavropigio”, by issuing sigillia letter of the Ecumenical Patriarch Timothy B’(1619).
His successor monk Philaretos, founded also the monastery of Santa Barbara, within 300 meters, in order to become a nun –according to tradition – his sister.
Philaretos yet restored the monastery in 1721, as evidenced by the inscription on the lintel of the church. The church belongs to the cruciform tetrastyle type, except that the sides have two dances, like the Athonite design. It is analogous to the internal layout of the church the roof, because of the occasional renovation.
The temple (iconostasis) is not the original, of which only parts have survived. It is carved and gilded, and in places brings paint to emphasize the plant decoration. It is richly ornamented with birds, animals, plants and consists of two pieces, one dating to the 14th and one dating to the 18th century and the frescoes are dated somewhere in the 14th -15th century. The icons are of fine art dating from the 16th to 18th centuries. Unique are the icons of the name calendar, and several of the surrounding walls. The floor has enamelled terracotta plaques. The cells were renovated after the earthquake of 1965. In the old refectory of the Monastery, a fresco survives picturing the second abbot of the monastery, Philaretos. In the monastery area there are the chapels of St. George, the Archangels, St. Nektarios and St. Riginos, the first bishop of Skopelos . Outside the monastery are located the chapels of All Saints (cemeterian) and Osia Polyxenie. Currently are leading a monastic life 2 nuns.Day of grand feast: Birth of John the Baptist (24/6). Tel.24240 22395
Monastery of the Metamorphosis of the Saviour
The Monastery of the Metamorphosis of the Saviour, was built between the 16th – 17th centuries, the temple artwork was done by the famed Cretan hagiographer Anthony Agorastos and the temple is the dependency of the Monastery of Xenophon of Mount Athos. It is considered the oldest monastery of the island although, despite its inscription, the archeological research has not identified it yet.
Feature of the monastery is the church (Temple) and copies the Athonite architecture, a sign of the influence of Athos older years on the island of Skopelos. In the interior there is a remarkable old temple artwork (iconostasis) of the 16th century with floral decoration but without plating or colors. The icons are of the same period and some of them are works of the famous Byzantine iconographer, Agorastos. It is worth noting that in 1821 fathers from the Mont Athos ensconce themselves in the monastery carrying heirlooms and holy relics to protect them from the Ottomans. During your visit to the monastery, you will notice that it consists of two transepts, including the guest quarters, guest house, kitchen and the monks’ cells. On the northern transept there is a castellated edifice that houses the chapels of St. John the Theologian and of the Archangels.
On the east side stands the tower of the monastery which was used as an observatory and protected the monks in times of pirates’ raids. During holidays and every Sunday a Divine Liturgy is carrying out (no other monastery on the island carries out a Divine Liturgy), while during the Assumption the Beseeching Observance is sung in honor of Virgin Mary.
On August 6, the monastery celebrates with pompous the biblical event of the Transfiguration (Metamorphosis) of the Saviour.
On the eve of August 5, the Great Vespers are sung along with Artoklasia, the “vigil”-as local people of Skopelos call it- with traditional treat at the end.
On the day of the feast is when the prayer for the blessing of the grapes is read, and grapes are shared to the pilgrims.
You may visit the courtyard of the monastery where you can find souvenirs and handcrafts from Mount Athos as well as a book exhibition.
Day of grand feast: 6 th August.
Monastery of St. Barbara
The Monastery of St. Barbara is the oldest monastery of Skopelos, must have been built in 1648, surrounded by thick and tall fence reminiscent of a medieval fortress and the temple is the oldest in Skopelos (15th century). A marble inscription is mentioned in 1697, but archaeologists believe that the monastery is quite older. Impressive is the wooden iconostasis.
The design of the Monastery is the exception in relation to other churches of Skopelos. It belongs to the cruciform type, but the proportions of the dome are quite heavy.The carved, gilded temple adorning the Monastery is much older than the above date found on the marble inscription. On its top is found the Great Cross and underneath it in parallel rows the Great Prayer, tendril with 21 icons of major Holidays, tendril with the 12 Prophets and the Virgin Mary in the middle and in the end the icons of the temple. The Monastery Is located near the Monastery of Prodromos and is now uninhabited but accessible to visitors and pilgrims (A lady is guarding the place).
Day of grand feast:4th December & 2nd and 10th February
Monastery of Taxiarhes (Archangels) - Glossa
In the area of Glossa Town, at a distance of about two kilometers, is located at an altitude of 300 meters, the nowadays abandoned Monastery of the Archangels. Its construction is dating from the beginning of 1600 and has linked its existence with the history of the local people, since the times of Ottoman occupation. There are many legends about the underground passages, which are beneath the cells of the Monastery.
In the courtyard of the monastery there are remains of an early Christian church. Day of grand feast: 8th November.
Monastery of Panagia Livadiotissa (Ζoodochou Pigis) of the 17th century at the east outskirts of Chora. Day of Grand Feast : 5 days after Easter.
Monastery of Aghios Ioannis (early 18th century) at Kotronaki (Stafylos). Day of Grand Feast : 24th of June.
Monastery of Timios Stavros (Holly Cross) of the end of the 17th century at Kotronaki, south of Chora. Day of Grand Feast : 14th of September (small monastery, unique sample of triconch temple on the island).
Monastery of Aghios Ioannis of the 16th-17th century at Kampos, south of Chora. Day of Grand Feast : 29th of August.
Monastery of Aghios Artemios of the 17th century, south of Chora. Day of Grand Feast : 20thof October.
Monastery of Aghios Nikolaos at Kipous of the 17th century, next to the primary school Peparithou Skopelou (private). Day of Grand Feast : 6th of December.
Monastery of Pano Panaitsa (Assumption of Virgin Mary) of the 18th century at the southeastern part of the island (near Daponte). Day of Grand Feast : 15th of August.
Monastery of Aghia Triada (Holy Trinity) at Palouki of the 18th century. Day of Grand Feast : Day of celebration of the Holly Spirit.
Monastery of Aghios Taxiarhis (Archangel) at Bato of 1761. Day of Grand Feast : 8th of November.
Monastery Analipseos tou Sotiros (Ascension of Jesus Christ), private, at Karya (Revithi region). Day of Grand Feast : On Ascension day.
Aghia Mony (Holly Monastery, Assumption of Virgin Mary) of the 17th century at Stefani area, dependency of Megistis Lavras of Aghio Oros. Day of Grand Feast : 15th of August.
Monastery of Aghios Eustathios (private) of the early 17th century at Karya. Day of Grand Feast : 20th of September and 5th of May (possibility of hosting at nearby summer house with cells)
Monastery of Aghios Georgios (St. George) at Karya of the 18th century. Day of Grand Feast : 23rd of April.
Monastery of Panagia Eliotissa (chapel of Zoodochos Pigi) of the 18th century at Neo Klima, Glossa. Day of Grand Feast : 5 days after Easter.
Monastery of Aghioi Apostoloi (Peter & Paul) of the 18th century at the steep rock, known as Meteoro of Aegean Sea. Day of Grand Feast : 29th of August.
Monastery of Aghios Georgios (St. George) of the first half of the 18th century, at the homonym uninhabited little island. Day of Grand Feast : 23rd of April.