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Monastery Agios Dionisiou

The abbey of Dionysiou is built 80 meters above sea level on a huge and rugged rock. To the west of the abbey flows the torrent Aeropotamos. The cells of the monks face the sea and they have balconies all around.

Between them, there is a somewhat narrow yard in the centre of which stands the abbey’s main temple. It is named in honor of Prodromos whose memory is celebrated on August 29. The whole unit consists of a huge tower (which used to be a watchtower) and many other buildings all around. The “archondariki” lies at the north wing of the abbey while the cells are at the south wing. Externally, the abbey looks like a fortress. When you look down from Tarsana at the abbey’s side, it looks like it consists of hanging arcades made of wood, which crown the rugged summits of the rocks. To the east and near the abbey’s grave-yeard lies the grave of St. Nephona Patriarch of Constantinople, while to the west, there are wild ravines, which echo under the north wind.

The abbey was built in 1839 by monk Dionysius from Koresso of Kastoria. His brother, who was the abbot of the Philotheou abbey, became Metropolitan of Trevizond which emperor Alexios Comnenos the third valued a great deal.

When the abbey was burned, Dionysius went to Trebizond to visit his brother. As a result, the emperor offered many treasures for the abbey of Dionysius and granted an annual contribution. He also wished that the abbey would be called “abbey of the Great Comnenos”.

Interest for this abbey was also expressed by the Dynasty of Paleologos as well as by the kings of Wallachia, Radopoulos and Neagos Basarabas. The latter, in 1510, built the tower and the aqueduct. In 1533, the abbey was burned again, but the king of Moldavia and Wallachia Pierre rebuilt it. He also rebuilt the main temple, which was finished in 1547, with excellent wall paintings, painted by the famous Cretan artist Georgi. At the third ritual of Aghion Oros, the abbey comes in the 19th place among the twenty-five abbeys, which existed at that time. In 1574, when the Xeropotamou abbey was burned, it took its place and now it is fifth in line. The altar which lies to the southwest of the main temple has icons painted by Mercurius and Daniel, which date back to 1603. The library contains 126 hand-written codes of parchment, 11 of silk, 661 of paper and 5.500 prints, (among them 45 original and old copies). Some of the manuscripts have remarkable miniatures.

Among the many treasures of the abbey, we can see gospels crosses, amulets, excellent reliquaries, portable icons, embroidered sacerdotal vestments, etc. Seven cells belong to the abbey.