The monastery of Ambelakiotissa
The historic monastery of Panagia Ambelakiotissa is one of the most important ones in the Municipality of Naupaktia and lies within the municipal department of Apodotia at a small distance from the village Ambelakiotissa (formerly known as Kozitsa) and 17 klms from Ano Chora. The location of the village was formerly known also as “Argastiria”, i.e. workshops. This name implies probably that in this region used to live families, such as that of Damianos from Epiros, who were renowned for their art as wood-carvers, silversmiths and goldsmiths.
Architecture and decoration
The katholikon is a three-aisled domed basilica with a rectangular plan, three pairs of columns and one pair of piers and a semi-circular apse which is decorated by seven shallow niches. The church bears a pitched, tiled roof and the ceiling of the naves is formed with domical surfaces. On the outside, at the middle of the western side stands an impressive bell-tower with an apsed central entrance. All the exterior surfaces of the walls are decorated with slabs of stone bearing, in relief, the depictions of trees, flowers, animals, human figures. The inscription in relief on the arch over the entrance informs us that the “architect” from Epiros Christos Ioannou from the village of Stratzina (nowadays Pyrgos at Konitsa) restored the katholikon of Ambelakiotissa in 1847 when Theophilos Papalogis was abbot; it also mentions that the initial year of construction of the temple was 1456. The interior of the church is not decorated with frescoes and it has a wood-carved iconostasis made probably by a local workshop, dated by an inscription at 1874. Some recently restored cells are situated along the south and the west sides.
Relics
  View of the interior of the katholikon. Upper  left corner: the embroidery of the Holy Sepulchre The monastery of Ambelakiotissa is also famous for the holy relics and the liturgical objects, some of which are real masterpieces. Among those stands out the hand of St. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, which bears a gold revetment, made in 1792 by the local goldsmith Panayiotis Damianopoulos. It is kept within a silver reliquiarium, bearing religious repersentations in relief, made by the local gold-and silversmith N. Damianos.
The icon of the Mother of God, which constitutes the main icon of the church, belongs to the style of the 17th century, but its golden revetment was made in 1820 by the local goldsmith Nicolaos Damianos. Furthermore, a wonderful specimen of golden thread embroidery is the Holy Sepulchre, made by the renowned embroiderer Mariora from Constantinople.
The monastery functions nowadays with male monks. Celebartion days are the 23rd of February, namesday of St. Polycarp, and the 15th of August, on the day of the Dormition of Mary.
Western Greece Region
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Co-funded by European Union - European Regional Development Fund
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