Néa Moní - 1 -
View of the Nea Moni

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A Byzantine monastery, situated at 15 km from the Chios town toward East. The UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage.

In Greek, moní means monastery, and néa is the female form of the adjective meaning "new".

How to visit: there is no public transport to the monastery. If you don't have a car, options are; 1) hire a taxi, 2) buy a tour at the Chios town (not expensive), or if it is in summer and you are lucky, 3) join the free but weekly tour organised by the Chios Tourist Office.

Mosaics

When we visited this place, the main church (Katholikon) was under restoration and we could not see either inside or outside (it was almost completely covered with net). In the photo above is what little we could see from a window. Afterwards, we were allowed to come inside for the worship, but, even so, we could not see any better than this because of scaffoldings.


Foundation Regend

Katholikon
The apse of the Katholikon seen from outside
According to the foundation legend, this monastery was constructed at the place where three hermits, Nikitas, Ioannis, and Josef, found a miraculous icon of Mary, Mother of God. They were leading the monastic life in the mountain of Provateio. One night they noticed a strange light coming from the eastern slope of the mountain. The morning after they went to see what it was, but the light disappeared. To discover the will of God, they decided to burn the area and set fire. The fire burnt down the area, but it suddenly died leaving only one spot undamaged. In this spot there was a myrtle bush, from a branch of which an icon of Mary was hanged.

The hermits brought the icon to the cave where they lived, but miraculously it continued to return to the place where it was originally found. The men of God decided to built an oratory there, and around it there formed a monastery, which is the original, thus the Old Monastery.

One day Mary told the monks that the general Konstantinos Monomachos, then exiled in Lesvos, would be emperor. They went to Lesvos and informed the general of this prophecy. Konstantinos told them, if it should realise, that he would give them rewards, but the holy men only wanted that he would build a new church for Mary.


Outer wall of the Katholikon
Two years after, Konstantinos was unexpectedly recalled to the capital of the empire, Constantinople, and keeping his word, built a sumptuous church dedicated to Mary the Mother of God (Theotokos), at the site where the Old Monastery was, sending the best architects and artisans from Constantinople. The work continued for 12 years, and after the death of the emperor, his widow Theodora brought it to the completion. This is the tradition regarding the foundation of the Néa Moní.

The Néa Moní was burnt down by the Turks at the occasion of the massacre in 1822, and was greatly damaged by the earthquake of 1881, but the icon survived undamaged.

In the photo is the outer wall of the Katholikon. This was the only part that was exposed at that time, but the area was roped and we could not get closer.


Cat
Cat, as always...

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