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Monastery of Hosios Loukas

The Monastery of Hosios Loukas in in Distomo, Arachova, Voiotia is dedicated to a hermit who was born, lived and died in the shadow of Mount Helicon in the 10th century, known as Venerable Luke the Stiriote (Hosios Loukas Steiriotis). This monastery is the epitomy of the Byzantine architecture while it is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. The monastery is an 11th century, built on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of the goddess Demeter Steiritida. The monastery church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was the only one built in mainland Greece in the 10th century. The main ‘katholikon’, dedicated to Hosios Loukas, also has an octagonal architectural design, like Nea Moni of Chios and the Monastery of Dafni. The sublime mosaic ornamentation, the bright marble and the golden chandeliers all bear witness to the high regard in which the monastery was held during the late Byzantine period. Since that time it has been a much venerated shrine, waiting for travellers to be their guide through the enchanting legends and secret pathways of Byzantine history. The churches of the monastery include valuable relics, altar cloths, gold and silver plates, beautiful frescoes and mosaics. Of course, time and conquerors have damaged many of them, but they are still representative of the Byzantine church architecture.

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