Monday, June 11, 2012

The Holy Monastery of Sagmata

The Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration of Christ, Sagmata (  
The Holy Monastery of Sagmata (amateur translation)
The Holy Monastery of the Transfiguration – Sagmata is among the oldest monasteries, built at the height of 747 meters on the peak of the Sagmatiou mountain. It is a half hour from the city of Thebes, and 8 kilometers from the “Ethnike Odo” between Athens and Lamia (about 80 kilometers from Athens).
The founding of the Holy Monastery
According to Pausania, the mountain in ancient years was named “Mount Ypatios”, and at the peak was a magnificent ancient Greek temple and statue to the Ypatou Dios. During the Byzantine period, specifically the 12th century, the Holy Monastery was built by St. Clement, and was supported by the Emperor Alexios Comenos, who granted a chrysobull of 1106, which granted special rights to the Monastery, along with rich gifts. During that period, the name of the mountain was changed from “Ypation”, to “Sagmation”, most likely because the mountain resembles a hood or a saddle, or because in olden times, the monks' handiwork was the crafting of saddles.
The Katholikon
In the center of Holy Monastery stands the Katholikon, which is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, and which was built in the 12th century. It is in a cruciform style, topped with a dome, divided into four parts (the Holy Altar, the main church, the inner narthex or Liti, and the outer narthex) in addition to the bell tower, which was built in the 15th to the 16th century.
The most noteworthy portion of the church is mosaic floor. It is beautiful, from the samples that remain, crafted with multicolored stones, depicting wonderful scenes from the animal and plant kingdoms, along with geometric shapes...

The other buildings
Around the Katholikon are built the cells, the dining hall, and the rest of the support spaces. Towards the south side is the dining hall of the Monastery, the “photanamma”, and towards the western side the first cell, all constructions of the 12th century. The rest of the buildings (cells, the archondariki, etc.) date from the Turkish occupation.
The tomb of St. Clement in the Chapel dedicated to him, Sagmata Monastery (
The chapels
At a distance of 150 meters south of the Monastery is the scenic chapel of St. Nicholas, that dates most likely to the 16th century. To the west is the newly-built chapel of St. Clement, along with his tomb. From this location, the view of the fields and bays is majestic. From here begins a small footpath which leads to the steep cave where St. Clement lived in asceticism. Around the Monastery are the ruins of old chapels, while at a distance of about 1 kilometer, next to the road, is the chapel of the Holy Forty Martyrs, which was built during the Turkish occupation.
The path leading towards the ascetical cave of St. Clement of Sagmata (
The chapel of St. Luke the Surgeon
In recent years, the contemporary Russian Saint Luke the Surgeon, Archbishop of Simferopol and Crimea(1877-1961), became well known in Greece. Within the Holy Monastery is a chapel dedicated to St. Luke. His memory is celebrated on June 11th...

The Chapel of St. Luke the Surgeon in Sagmata Monastery, where they treasure a portion of the Saint's wonderworking Relics, the Saint's miter, and numerous personal items of the Saint (
The Saints of the Holy Monastery
St. Meletos (1035-1105) – The founder of his famous Holy Monastery in Kithairona. He was the Elder of St. Clement. Many sources hold that he spent some time at Sagmata. His memory is celebrated September 1st.
St. Clement (1050-1140) – The founder of the Holy Monastery of Sagmata. His family was from Athens, and at a young age he came to the Holy Monastery of Osios Meletios, where he was tonsured a monk by St. Meletios, and remained near him for 30 years. In the beginning of the 12th century, he came to Sagmata and lived as a hermit “alone except for God” in a came at the top of a steep rock. During his life he built the Monastery. His memory is celebrated on January 26th and May 1st.
St. Germanos (1480-1540) – He served as abbot of the Holy Monastery during the bitter years of slavery [to the Turks]. He was the spiritual father of St. Seraphim. His memory is celebrated on January 26th.

St. Seraphim (1520-1602) – His family was from the town of Zeli. In his youth he came to Sagmata, and lived there as a monk for 10 years. For greater asceticism, he fled to the area of Domvou Elikonos, and built his famous Holy Monastery. His memory is celebrated on May 6th.
Fr. Nektarios Antonopoulos (the Abbot of Sagmata Monastery), who routinely takes the Holy Relics to churches outside the Monastery, and gives many talks on the life and miracles of St. Luke of Simferopol (
The Holy Monastery in later years
The Monastery knew days of wondrous spiritual greatness, and was a spiritual lighthouse for the region for centuries. Unfortunately, the national endeavors of later years did not leave the Monastery unaffected. The occupation by barbarians halted the processes of the Holy Monastery, along with other monasteries. Then, the Monastery was sacked and stripped of its Holy treasures, which continued later by contemporary thieves. The buildings suffered the corruption of time, and the lack of men allowed considerable damage. The formerly multitudinous Holy Monastery remained with a few ages monks, who, without the necessary resources and difficult conditions tried to salvage what was possible. From the 1970's, at the concern of the Metropolitans Nikodemos and Ieronymos, and after, began major restoration activities. The reconstruction had progressed to the point that the abandoned Holy Monastery had changed appearance. Since 1977, the Monastery has been inhabited by a small-numbered brotherhood, and functions as a male monastery.
Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Sagmata: Archimandrite Nektarios Antonopoulos...
The Monastery is open to pilgrims daily from 7:30AM-1PM, and from 4PM until sunset.
The Holy Monastery celebrates:
August 6th (The Transfiguration of Christ)
January 26th and May 1st (St. Clement)
September 14th (The Precious Cross)
See the following link for a short video about Sagmata Monastery (in Greek): The following is a longer video in Greek, depicting the Abbot discussing the history of the monastery and showing some of the sacred places within:
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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