The Holy Monastery of Virgin Mary of Ikosifinissas is the second most important Monastery in Macedonia, where even today a multitude of believers flock to the Monastery to worship to the Virgin Mary of Ikosifinissas and to assimilate her unhandled icon. The Holy Monastery is located on the national road Kavalas - Serres (at the borders of the two Prefectures), on the northern side of Pangeo, immediately after the settlement of Kormista, in a verdant location, at an altitude of 743 m. Today, in the Monastery, live 25 nuns where Alexia is the mother superior. The Monastery is a Stavropegic Monastery, i.e. it belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (administratively) and to the Holy Metropolis of Drama (ecclesiastically).


For the name of the Monastery, there are three versions:

  • The acquirer of the Monastery, St. Germain is located in a place, a small oasis outside the Holy Monastery of Timios Prodromos at the Holy Land, which had twenty (20) palms. There has been instructed by the angel of the Virgin Mary for the construction of Monastery, and in memory of the site he was called it "Virgin Mary of Ikosifinissas".
  • The well-known songwriter of the 18th-century, Caesarios Dapontes, calls it "Kossyphinitsa", because traditionally, a knife led the St. Germanus to the point where the Holy Water flows up to today under the chapel of St. Barbara.
  • The Abbot of the Holy Monastery Chrysanthos (1782) mentions that while Saint Germanus, after the erection of the Monastery, was looking for a suitable plank to make the icon of the Virgin Mary, she offered him, in a miraculous way, the image of her, which has been preserved to this day and which shone and emit "palm", that is, a reddish, light. From this, the term "Ikosifinissa" prevailed.

The foundation of the Monastery dates back to the reign of Bishop Philippi Sozzontos, who took part in the Fourth Ecumenical Synod of Chalcedon (451 A.D.). According to tradition, the bishop Sozon founded, around 450 A.D., a temple and a monastic settlement at Vigla, near the Monastery. The monastic settlement was abandoned over time and the monastery was founded by St. Germanus in the second half of the 9th or at the beginning of the 10th century. Saint Germanus was the first monastery owner. According to tradition, Saint Gerasimos, having monastery in the Holy Monastery of Prodromos, in the Jordan River, abandoned Palestine, and in a vision he saw by the angel of Virgin Mary, he came to Vigla of Pangea about 518 A.D. There, he discovered the ruins of the old buildings that had been built by Sozon and started the construction of a new Monastery but he did not succeed on his own, the co-stars of Constantinopolitan officials Nicholas and Neophytos after they sold all their possessions and froze the benefit of Saint Germanus towards them craftsmen for the erection of the monastery. Saint Germanus commanded the Monastery with wisdom and thoughtfulness, and he slept after he appointed his successor Neophytos. His remembrance is celebrated on the 22nd of November.

The history of the Monastery remains unknown until the 11th century, when it was proclaimed "cruciform" and a new Catholic (central) temple of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary was built. From 1472, the Monastery experienced a period of prosperity until 1507. The abbot of Ecumenical Patriarch Dionysios A΄, who with his action and his fortune gave her a breath of life, resigned in the Μonastery. For this reason, he was named the second founder of the Monastery and the Church declared him Saint. St. Dionysius especially honored him as the spiritual father of the Christian sultan Maro, the stepmother of Sultan Mohammed II of the Conqueror (1451 - 1481), who made many benefactions and donations to the Holy Monastery. The action of the monks in the wider region caused the rage of the Turks, who killed them without destroying the monastery building complex. After the intervention of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the Sultan's court, the Monastery was re-inhabited by monks of Mount Athos around 1510 - 1520. In 1610, the Metropolitan Bishop of Myreon Mattheos visited the Monastery, who wrote the Apostolic Rule of Panagia Acheroizitis. In 1798, after his first Patriarchate, the later Ethnarchy and Saint Patriarch Gregory E remained in exile in the Monastery.

During the Ottoman domination, the contribution of the Monastery to the preservation of Orthodoxy and Hellenism was invaluable, while its historical course was destroyed many times by Turkish and Bulgarian invaders. At the time of the Revolution of 1821, the Monastery had become a spiritual and national center of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. The Monastery of Paggeio prepared the national uprising against the Turks. Here was the headquarters of the great fighter Nikos Tsaras and Emmanuel Papas came from Serres, where he swore his soldiers and declared the Revolution.

Up to 1843, there was a school called "Common Letters or a Greek School" for the rise of the educational level of the area. At the beginning of the 20th century and for a few decades, there was also an Agricultural School with 3 agronomists. Its library was worthwhile. Before it was taken by the Bulgarians (1917) it contained 1300 books, some of which the 430 manuscript codes were of great value.

On Monday, 27th of March 27 in 1917, the Bulgarian Archbomitographer Panitsas grabbed most of the heirlooms and transferred them to Bulgaria, where they are kept until today in the National Historical Museum of Sofia. In June of the same year, Bulgarian soldiers forced the monks to leave the Monastery. Ikosifinissa was left deserted. The Holy Monastery of Virgin Mary of Ikosifinissa began to reopen in 1965 from a female battalion this time and celebrates on 15th of August in memory of the Virgin Mary on the 14th of September in memory of the Cross-Honouring and on the 21st of November in memory of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. The actual rebuilding of the Monastery was made by the Metropolitan Dionysius Kyratos at that time, who is considered by many to be the third owner of the Holy Monastery.

The Monastery and its buildings

The entire Monastery is surrounded by a tall wall and at its center is the temple of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. In the first and main part of the monastery is the Catholicon, which is its oldest building, the Igoumenion, the cells of the monasteries, the archontariki, the chapel of Agia Varvara with the sanctuary, the museum, the bank and the embroidery and hagiography workshops . The second part of the monastery's buildings include the three guesthouse buildings, the presbytery for the monastic priest, the Zoodochos Pigi chapel and the old-fashioned flower garden. Before the Monastery, there is a square that shades the old plane trees. Close to it, there is the monument of the 172 monks of Ikosifinissa that were slaughtered in 1507 by the Turks. It was erected in 1972. At the entrance of the Monastery, there is a mosaic of the Virgin Mary. In the inner gate, there is another mosaic of the two founders of the Monastery, Saint Germanus and Dionysios. The "Catholicon", the central temple, was built in 1842, except the Holy Step, which survives from the 11th century. Wonderful art is the wood-carved gold-plated iconostasis, in which the iconless hand-painted icon is also found. The iconostasis was constructed from 1781 to 1802 by the Chian craftsmen. It has two large and two smaller domes. There are two small cypress trees that cause admiration, like a miracle. In the southeastern corner of the Temple there is a grandiose monastery.

The Acheiropoiitos Icon of the Virgin Mary and its miracles

The tradition states that it is one of the icons of the Apostle Luke, although the image of the Apostle, the imprint on the wood was in a miraculous way by the Virgin Mary herself. Apostle Loucas, when he was painting the face of the Virgin Mary, distinguishes a slit in the wood and to be uncomfortable, the Virgin Mary appears with the Divine Infant embrace on the wood, which is why in the image there is a slit in the face of the Virgin Mary. The Hand-painted Picture of the Virgin Mary of Ikosifinissa at times made and did miracles. The miracle of the boot and pistol remained known. At the time of the attacks and blows of the Bulgarians, an officer attempted to seize the icon of the Virgin Mary, but he shrank back and exhaled, while his boot and pistol were imprinted on the marble slabs of the floor to remind the miracle. Still today, on the marble floor of the church these points appear.

Serres - Kavala National Street, 62047