Church of Agioleo

Northeast of Methoni at a distance of 4 kilometers, in the area of “Paliomethoni” have been preserved the imposing ruins of the church of Agioleo. It is the main church of the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria de Berge that was destroyed by the Greeks in 1267. It was a three-aisled basilica, of pretty big dimensions and was a unique sample of pure Gothic architecture in the Messinian area.

In the Church of Agioleo are preserved elements found in many churches of the West during the 13th century; the three overbearing niches of the sanctuary, the strong struts on all four sides of the monument, the arrangement of two struts at its corners, the two double column bases on high pedestals in contact with the inner western wall as well as the former existence of a pillar at the main entrance gate on the west side.

At a later period, in the 15th century, among the ruins of the church of Agioleo was built a smaller cross-shaped church, the ruins of which survive at great height. Its transverse arch was supported by four half columns among which, on the north wall, there was probably an entrance. On the northern and southern wall, there were biphora windows with their escutcheon. The enclosure of the church was reinforced with struts.