The Holy Monastery of St. John the Forerunner, Anatoli, was founded by the Holy Martyr Damianos in the 16th century and revived by a group of women monastics in 2000.
The monastery is located on the mountain Kissavos (Ossa), four kilometers from the village of Anatoli, Agia, and about an hour from the city of Larissa, at an altitude of 1080 meters.
The Old Monastery
Although a section of the old monastery dates from the
1100s, the main structure was founded around 1550 A.D. by the Holy
Martyr Damianos. He organized a coenobitic community of monks there,
which was one of the most flourishing monastic communities of east
Thessaly during the 16th century.
The buildings of the old monastery include the main
church dedicated to St. John the Forerunner, a chapel to St. Demetrios, cells, workshops, and reception areas.
Monks lived in the old monastery until the last monk died in 1889.
After this, the community of Anatoli looked after the buildings,
seeing that they were kept in as good a condition as possible.
They also appointed priests to live in and look after the monastery
until about seventy years ago. Afterwards, during the civil war
in Greece, the monastery was badly damaged.
|The New Monastery
A group of monks from Mount Athos came to the monastery in 1980
and began building a new structure on the premises. But, after three
years, the monks abandoned it uncompleted. The monastery remained
deserted and suffered from the decay of time, extreme weather conditions,
passersby, and thieves, until July of 2000, when a community of women
monastics from St. Paul's monastery in Lavrion started monastic life there again.
Since then, with much personal effort and sacrifice, they have worked to restore and revive the monastery, receiving innumerable blessings from God and much support from inconspicuous benefactors.
|Church of St. Damianos
In 2003, the nuns built a church dedicated
to St. Damianos, the founder of the old monastery, to provide a place of worship big enough to accomodate the pilgrims who come to visit them. The old catholicon of the Venerable Forerunner is in serious disrepair
and the monastery has not yet obtained funding for its reconstruction
according to archaeological regulations.
||Hermitage of St. Damianos
The humble hermitage of St Damianos is located two kilometers across
the mountain of Kissavos.
After living with the monks in the monastery of St John for some
years, St Damianos moved to this cave, living as an ascetic the
rest of his life. He continued to visit and teach the monks and the
people of the nearby villages and of Larissa.