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Monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa

The Byzantine monastery of Panagia Mavriotissa or Mesonisiotissa is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. It is situated by a stand of ancient plane trees, on the east shore of Lake Orestiada, 4 km from Kastoria’s town center. It is believed to have been founded in the 11th century, during the time Alexios Komnenos I (1081-1118) was Head of the Byzantine Empire. It is built on the spot where Byzantine troops, landed in order to recapture Kastoria from the Norman conquerors. The monastery was initially named Mesonisiotissa but in the 17th century was renamed to Mavriotissa after the lakeside village of Mavrovo, the people of which ensured for the good condition of the monastery.  It has had an important role throughout the history of the area, contributing mainly to the intellectual life.

The monastery was abandonded for many years and was re-founded in 1998. The church is a single nave timber roofed building ending in a semicircular stepped conch to the east. On the west side there is a spacious square narthex. A chapel dedicated to Agios Ioannis (St. John the Theologian) was added to the south wall in the 16th century and is decorated with wall paintings dating to 1552. After its re-foundation a museum and an exhibition hall were added to the complex.

Fragments of the frescoes from the early 13th century decorating the church have survived in various parts of the church. They are work of 5 different hagiographers from the 12th to the second half of the 14th century. During its long history, the monastery has suffered many damages, resulting to the destruction of some of its significant murals. It is a men’s monastery and celebrates on August, 15th.