Old Monastery of Voulkano

The Old Monastery of Voulkano is built on top of Mountain Ithomi in Messinia at an altitude of 800 meters, on a huge rock. During the antiquity, the sanctuary of Ithomatas Zeus was located in this area.

There are two legends about the foundation of the Old Monastery of Voulkano: One says that it was built in the 8th century by monks iconolaters, where they found the icon of Virgin Mary, hanging on a bush along with a lit lamp, while the other says that its owner is emperor Andronicus II Palaeologus (1282-1328). The name “Voulkanos” (formerly “Vourkano”, “Dorkano” and “Voulkani”), is due probably to the Byzantine ruler who was in the area.

The old temple of the Monastery of Voulkano is aisled vaulted basilica (two-aisle today) with many posterior interventions and stone blocks of the Sanctuary of Zeus were used in its construction. The frescoes of the church,that were made by  brothers Dimitrios and Georgios Moschos in 1608 are very interesting.

In the Old Monastery of Voulkano there is the Byzantine Fotanama, one of 11 in Greece, which was a special place with a fireplace and benches around it, where the monks sat and get warm in winter.

The Old Monastery of Voulkano was abandoned by the monks in 1625. The monks moved to the present site of the new monastery, between the villages Mavrommati and Valira.

The treasure of the monastery is the icon of Virgin Mary Voulkaniotissa, bearing the inscription «Η Οδηγήτρια η επονομαζομένη τω όρει Βουλκάνω».

The new monastery also has many Holy Relics of Saints of the Church, including Saint Ioannis the Martyr from Monemvassia, Saint Dionysios the Areopagite and Saint Elias of Ardouni from Kalamata.

The Old Monastery of Voulkano is directly connected today with Messinian Feast as the icon of Voulkaniotissa is on litany covering 20 km until the town of Messina.

The Monastery of Voulkano has always been for men and it never stopped functioning. Today the new monastery is the only male Convent of Metropolis in Messinia.