Chios Island - Religious Sights24-09-2012 16:05Nea Moni
Nea Moni (=New Monastery) was built in the 11th century (between 1042 - 1056 AD) and dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, covering an area of 17,000 sq. m., located in the centre of the island.
It consists of the main church, two smaller churches, the table where the monks used to dine all together, the cells of the monks and the underground tanks for storing up water. In the north-western part of the monastery there is an imposing defensive tower. All the parts of the monastery are surrounded by high stone walls.
According to the monastic tradition, the Emperor Constantine the Gladiator founded the monastery to reciprocate the three monks: Nikitas, Joseph and John, who predicted that his exile on the island of Lesvos was temporary and he would eventually return to the throne. Three Monks discovered the miraculous image of Virgin Mary under a myrtle in the current location of the monastery. This was the location where a small church with few cells was built at first. The Emperor Constantine the Gladiator gave to the monastery property and income, which was very rare for a Byzantine economic system. The monastery of Nea Moni was one of the richest and most famous monasteries in the Aegean. This prosperity continued until the Turkish invasion in the island in 1822 and plundered the monastery and causing an economic decline.
The temple is the central point of the monastery. The architecture of the church is insular octagonal dome system. The only buildings of this type of architecture are on Chios and Cyprus.
The mosaics of Nea Moni date from the 11th century and are relics of the monastery. They are one of the three remaining collections in Greece of the Byzantine period and they are still in relatively good condition.
The technique used for the construction of the mosaics is the dramatic expression and monastic simplicity. A large part of the surface of the drawing is made of gold and as the light reflects on it, emphasizes the transcendence of pictures and shapes, giving the impression of moving to a higher and spiritual world. The excellent quality along with the fact that the mosaics were works of artists who had connections with the greatest art workshops in Istanbul, rank among the most important creations of Byzantine art.
The Monastery is in the list of monuments that they are under the protection of World Heritage of UNESCO.
The monastery of St. Markella, protector of the island, is built almost on the beach 8 km from far from Volissos village. This sandy beach facing Psara Island is known for its cold waters and the deep seabed.
At the end of the beach, there is a path that leads to the point where St. Markella has suffered the martyrdom. At this point in the sea, warm water gushes from the earth.
The 22nd of July is official holiday on the island and thousands of people across the island visit the area. Often the residents tell stories about the miracles of St. Markella.
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