The monastery of Faneromeni was built in the green pine clad hill, on the west side of the town, where the view of Aghios Ioannis, Gira and Castle was magical. Its history comes from centuries ago, starting from the first apostolic years. For that reason is, one of the most significant monuments of the island and the only monastery still in residence.
The tradition says that the place where it was built was Diana’s Sanctuary of fine marble. The students of Apostle Pavlos, who arrived first in the island, gathered the inhabitants and preached the Christianism, creating the first place for prayer, while one of them, Sosion, had been ordained as Lefkada’s first Bishop. Sosion was the founder of the monastery.
According to religious sources, in the years of Konstantinos the Great, after the A’ Ecumanical Synod, 5 Fathers arrived together with the Bishop Agatharchos. Two of them were settled in the Monastery and three of them in the Hermitage of Holy Fathers outside Alexandros village. The Fathers constructed the first cells, extended the church and organized the monasticism of Lefkada.
Another tradition says that the first icon of Panagia, which had been ordered in Constantinople, was revealed as a “God made icon” (was not made by human) to the monk and hagiographer Kallistos, after his prayer. For this reason, the monastery was named Faneromeni.
The monastery took its final figure during the Venetian domination in 1734. The church was rebuilt on the 19th century, after 2 fires and its features reveal the strong influence of Zakinthos architecture.
The icon of Panagia (1887) is a copy of the old miraculous icon of Faneromenis of Aghio Oros Monastery. Its iconostasis was made after 1886, a work of Efstathios Prosalentis, junior. Its icons are works of brothers Christodoulos and Thomas Zografos from Chionades of Ipiros.
Also, to the front of the iconostasis, you will find the works of Leonidas Sideris, featuring times of New Testament. The monastery was renovated recently, with the initiative of Father prior. A new wing of cells was constructed together with prior’s apartment, synodic, library and a chapel dedicated to Aghios Silouanos Athoniti. Here, in a modern building is accommodated the new Ecclesiastical Museum of the Monastery with ecclesiastical art and tradition’s exhibits. Icons, vestments, vessels and books exhibited in 3 floors, characterizing Lefkada’s culture development.
The monastery exhibits Christian books and has a small guestroom for the pilgrims. Panagia Faneromeni’s church, stands for centuries, to the holy rock, gathering many pilgrims every year. It is the patron saint of the “Lefkada’s whole” and her grace is celebrated on Monday of Holy Spirit.