MEGA SPILAIO MONASTERY
The Monastery is located ten kilometers north-east of Kalavryta near the road that connects the Patras – Athens National Road with Kalavryta, and is built in the opening of a large natural cave (hence its name) of the Helmos mountain range, above the steep ravine of the Vouraikos river, at an altitude of about 900 meters, as well as in close proximity and higher up the village of Kato Zachlorou.
Completely in harmony with the wild and impressive landscape of the area, the eight-storey complex of the Monastery captivates even the most indifferent visitor. The monastery’s catholicon, dug into the rock, is a cross-shaped temple, inscribed with two splints.
The main church has frescoes from 1653, remarkable marble inlays on the floor, a wood-carved iconostasis, etc. while in the narthex the frescoes date back to the beginning of the 19th century.
AGIA LAVRA MONASTERY
Agia Lavra is a historic monastery in Kalavryta, one of the oldest monasteries in Greece and especially in the Peloponnesian area, known as the place where the Greek Revolution began, according to a popular Greek legend. According to other opinions, this particular event is just a legend.
It is located approximately 4 kilometers west of the town of Kalavryta on a hill at the foot of Mount Velia and at an altitude of 933 meters. 4.5 kilometers from the town of Kalavryta, hidden among the trees, is planted the historic Agia Lavra. To the right of the main entrance of the monastery precinct is the small church where the revolution was preached and blessed by the Metropolitan of Old Patras Germanos during the feast of the Annunciation in 1821.
The banner that was raised today is kept pierced by bullets in the third monastery that was built after the revolution because the second one was burned by Ibrahim and only its catholicon was saved. And the third monastery was destroyed by an earthquake,
fires and by the Germans in 1943, but was rebuilt.
Every year on March 25, the festivities take place, with the most important being the representation of the assembly of the chieftains
and the raising of the banner of the revolution.
The Holy Monastery of Panagia Makellaria Kalavryton is located in mountainous Achaia, in the northwestern part of the Municipality of Kalavryton, south of the village of Lapanaga, on a bare and steep rock, and at a distance of approximately 30 kilometers from the town of Kalavryton.
It is celebrated twice a year, on September 14, the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and more solemnly on August 15, the day of the Assumption of the Virgin (Fifteenth of August).V According to an inscription from 1805, located in the narthex of the monastery’s chapel, its founder is said to be the well-known general of Justinian, Belissarios, who built in 532 AD. The Monastery, possibly to atone for the massacre of the rebels at the famous “Nica Stand” in Constantinople. This original Monastery, which was dedicated to Panagia and was called “Panagia i Lithariotissa” or “Lithostrotiotissa”, was destroyed by the Turks in 1458.
According to tradition, at that time due to its extremely fortified position, the Monastery had become a refuge for the inhabitants of the surrounding villages who, led by the warrior Giannos, resisted the attacks of the Turks for many days. Despite the brave and fierce resistance of the defenders of the Monastery, the Turks finally managed to conquer it. From the horrific slaughter (massacre) that followed, the cells of the monks were filled with blood. Since then the Monastery took the nickname “Makellaria”. In 1784 the Monastery was renovated by Hieromonk Neophytos. The contribution of the Monastery during the Revolution of 1821 was great. In fact,
several of its monks fought against the Ottoman Empire.
Near the Monastery of Makellaria, on August 26-27, 1827, the victorious Battle of Kavkaria for the Greeks took place,
where the advancing troops of Ibrahim were repelled. The most valuable treasure of the Monastery is the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and the cup with the miraculous oil, which was found inside the rock when the monastery was rebuilt after the destruction suffered by the Turks in 1458, which is preserved to this day. Important relics of the monastery, such as gilded reliquaries, Byzantine icons and silver-plated Holy Gospels, have been stolen in a robbery that took place in September 1980.
Also preserved in the Monastery are the betel leaves, maces and buckles of the chieftains and lads who participated in the famous Battle of Kavkaria, with which routed Ibrahim’s troops in 1827, as well as some militant uniforms of 1821.