If you have the chance, make your way to Pentelis Mountain, a short 18 kilometer (less than 8 mile) jaunt from Athens, to visit the historic Monastery of the Koimisis tis Theotokou otherwise known as the “Moni Pentelis.” The monastery built during Turkish occupation in the 16th century is decorated with the most beautiful iconography. It houses a museum that documents the history of the community and its connection with the greater history of Athens. Just a small nugget: In 1778 the holy Monastery constituted the shelter for the residents of Athens, which along with their Metropolitan Gabriel of Athens remained on the grounds of the Monastery in order to avoid a horrible epidemic of plague which decimated a large part of population of Athens. These citizens were cared for by the Monastery for roughly two years.
There is also a small museum hall in the crypt of the walls (still under renovation) that recreates the “Krifio Scholeio” or the “Hidden School,” the practice where monks and clerics of the church would gather the young and old at night to teach them the fundamentals of the Greek language and the Gospel. If it hadn’t been for the secret night school, an act that could have been punished by death, the Greek language and Orthodox faith might have been forgotten.
The monastery of Pentelis features stone buildings surrounding a central courtyard with bas reliefs of Byzantine creatures such as griffons.
Today in the Monahologio (a list of Monks serving the Monastery) of the Monastery there are 58 monks and hieromonks registered, 17 monks reside permanently in the Monastery and 1 is a postulant.
For more info:
Monastery, Byzantine & Post-Byzantine Monuments, Cultural heritage PENTELI , ATTIKI , GREECE
15236 PENTELI , ATTIKI , GREECE
Tel.: +30 210 8041757, 8042404 , Fax: +30 210 8041755