The monastery of Panagia Chozoviotissa is the most interesting sight of the island and one of the most important Greek monasteries. It is a living museum of Byzantine period and the periods of Venetian and Turkish rule. It is founded in 1088 by the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komninos and is dedicated to the Virgin Mary which is celebrated on November 21.
This is an unsophisticated building with eight floors, with a length of 40m and 5m width built over a vertical cliff 300 meters over the sea. Includes numerous cells of monks, the refectory, kitchens, ovens, storage rooms, wine presses, cisterns and the wells, everything is wedged into the rock and is transformed into a functional building element and create a wonderful example of anonymous folk architecture.
It causes excitement, awe and wonder, how could human hands and simple tools built this architectural masterpiece. The simple shape of the single harmony wedged onto the steep cliff, between sky and sea. The view of the sea is unique.
The name of the monastery comes from the city of Chozovo (or Chozova) of Palestine, where there was a similar monastery.
Tradition says that a wooden image of the Virgin from there swept the coast of the island and the residents that collected it decided to build a monastery in the place they found picture. This point is called “daimonotopos” and there founded the first church of Stavropegic (directly governed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate) Virgin Chozoviotissa by Emperor Alexius Comnenus in the year 1088.
Of the many relics kept in the monastery stand the silver cherubs of 1652 which bears the name of the founder of Alexios Komninos and chisel (big iron nail) of the master builder, which according to tradition, was nailed to the position suggested by the very Virgin for the construction of the monastery. Wealth of sacred relics, Byzantine icons and manuscripts written on parchment and paper are kept in the museum.
Crowds of people from Greece and around the world, visit the monastery to admire the incomparable beauty. Each year at the feast of Mary, on 21 November, a festival is organized and food and handmade “pasteli” made by man and women of the island, is offered.
Tel. of Monastery: +30 2285 – 71274