Saturday, July 25, 2020

A 16th Century Monastery in Konitsa Dedicated to All the Prophets Has Been Rebuilt

The historic Monastery of the Prophets (which is dedicated to all the Prophets and Prophetesses of the Old Testament) in Distrato of Konitsa, which dates back probably to the 16th century or possibly earlier, since we don't know exactly the date of its foundation, was recently rebuilt and the cells and other area of the monastery are near completion. When it is completed, it will function as a female monastery. Thus, this monastery which had a past, will also now have a future.

The initial name of this monastery when it was founded was the Monastery of the Prophets. The successor of this Monastery was the Monastery of Vryazis or Briazis, whose katholikon was honored with the name of Panagia Prostasia, in the south of the village. Both of these Monasteries became ruins.

As for the Monastery of Vryazis, the date of its foundation is preserved from an engraved inscription on the edge of a silver chalice of the Monastery, where it is written: ΙΕΡΑC KAI CEBACMIAC ΜΟΝΗC KPATAIAC ΠΡΟCΤΑCΙΑC ΒΡΥΑΖΗC ΕΤΟC ΖΡΔ, which comes to 1595/96. But also the icon of the Panagia, from its style, is dated by experts to the early 16th century, the period in which the beginnings of the monastery are placed.

The Abbot of the Monastery, Fr. Arsenios Maipas, took the initiative, after the relevant approval and blessing of the Metropolitan of Konitsa, to rebuild the Monastery of the Prophets, to which he included the Prophetesses, with the katholikon dedicated to the Prophets Elijah and Elisha in Distrato of Konitsa (which was previously a dependency), and was first renovated in 1814.

In this church are kept relics from the Monastery of Panagia Prostasia, among which, a piece of the Holy Wood, parts of the relics of many saints, holy crosses for blessings and for wearing around the neck, pulpits from the beginning of the 17th century crafted by Linotopite painters, a two-sided icon of the 16th century with diptychs of remembrance, antimensions of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, patriarchal sigils and other documents.

Also in the Monastery of the Prophets, apart from the icon of the Panagia Prostasia, are other icons of the Virgin Mary are also treasured, which are kept in the heirloom of the Diocese, such as the Panagia Gnethousa, the Panagia Vriaziotisa, the Panagia the Unextinguishable Voice of the Apostles, and copies of Panagia Portaitissa and Panagia of Kazan.

"The important role of the Prophets in the life of the Church, even though they lived before the incarnation of Jesus," Fr. Arsenios emphasized in his sermon on July 20th 2020 for the feast of the Prophet Elijah, "is that they prepared for the coming of the Savior and foretold His coming. The Monastery of the Prophets, which after centuries of necrosis, comes to life again, reminding us that the enlightened persons of the Old Testament may have been hunted by the rulers of their time, because they controlled them, but in the eyes of God they were pleasing. The Prophets were great disciples with criteria and measures that were not human, but those determined by God. They were great, whose greatness did not extend to the limited earthly realms, but extended eternally It is a pity that many Christians seek the favorable judgment of men and do not look forward to the righteous judgment of God, like the Prophets and Prophetesses. We live and act, wanting the false praise and admiration of people, becoming human-like and not God-pleasing. We seek to please people and not God and thus move away from genuine life."