Churches small or large, known or less known, easily or difficult to reach. Traveling to Greece you will surely come across various temples with each one having its own special history. One of these monasteries is awe-inspiring as soon as you see it and is literally wedged inside a red rock. The reason for the monastery of Panagia Elona which is located in Parnonas certainly impresses anyone who is there but also those who admire it from photos. The location of the monastery literally inside the rock reminds you of Meteora and makes you wonder how they managed to build it there so many years ago.
Panagia Elona: The monastery that is wedged in the red rock
The Monastery of Panagia Elona in the area of Arcadia, is an architectural marvel whose history begins centuries ago. More specifically, its history begins back in the 1300s. There, on this steep slope of Mount Parnon, the monastery is located about 17 km away in Leonidio town. The story says that few shepherds who were in the area had seen a light in this inaccessible place that is today the monastery. And while at first, they did not pay attention, then they thought to look for the source of light on the steep slope of Mount Parnon. They then went to the bishop of Reontos and Prastos to consult him. Finally, after researching the whole village, they found that the light on the red rock was from a candle lit in front of an icon. But the approach was very difficult.
At the same time, two monks lived in the area, Callinicos and Dositheos, from whom the bishop asked to settle exactly where the icon was found. Finally, and with the help of all the inhabitants of the area, the two monks not only went but built a small chapel and two cells. This was the first construction of the monastery. Gradually, the monastery began to expand and reach over the years its present form, wedged in the red rock. The current building is dated, according to a sign at the main entrance, to about 1809. It is the monastery built on the foundations of the previously destroyed church.
The peculiarities of the monastery in Arcadia
Of course, this particular monastery, Panagia Elona, has many peculiarities due to the point where it has been built. Initially, the monastery had neither a dome nor hagiographies. The iconostasis of the church is also very special as it is carved with representations from the Old and New Testaments in walnut wood.
In Arcadia, there are other impressive churches that cause awe. There is also the Philosopher Holy Monastery, the "Secret School" of Arcadia. A riveting-looking monastery in the Gorge of Lousios.