Monastery of the Panagia Damassiotissa

On the northern slopes of mount Kallidromo, at an altitude of 2,428 ft. (740 m.), 23 km from Lamia, lies the post-Byzantine Monastery of the Virgin of Damasta, dedicated to the Birth of the Virgin Mary. The landscape that surrounds the monastery is breathtaking and the view from there is exquisite. There are many theories about the origin of the name, but the leading version is that it comes from the word “damastra” (tamer), that is, Virgin Mary who tames pain and suffering.  

The monastery was burnt in the years prior to the Greek Revolution of 1821. The temple dates back to 1818 and remains largely intact in its original structure of a symmetrical, octagonal cruciform domed basilica. The temple’s catholicon was decorated at Dyovouniotis’ (hero of the Revolution) own expense, as suggested by an inscription above its entrance:

“This divine and hallowed temple of the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God was decorated with the contribution of the Honourable Sir Captain Dyovouniotis. Archpriest His Eminence Sir Theophanes Bishop of Zitouni, on December 15th, 1818, by Georgios”

Neither history nor local tradition mentions the donor or the year that the monastery was established. Apart from the catholicon, the rest of the buildings have been constructed in the last decades. Nonetheless, it is an imposing building complex; the stately guesthouse, the bell tower, the icon of Virgin and Child, the abbey, the archontariki, and the courtyard with the dais, the fountains, and the chapel of St Constantine and Helen (donation of Sir Dimitris and Mme Eleni Karagkounis) stand out. The icon of Virgin and Child, dating from the 16th century, is considered to be miraculous. In 1892, the icon was silver plated. 

The monastery played an active role in the Greek Revolution of 1821, as many of its monks fought and fell on the battlefields. In 1833, the monastery was disbanded by King Otto and its property and income were expropriated. In recent years, it was reestablished and converted into a female convent. Today, it is a thriving cultural centre. September 8 is the feast day of the monastery.