AGIOS DIMITRIOS MONASTERY, MESOCHORIO
The dilapidated monastery is located in the northern part of the Asterousia Mountains, on the road that leads to Achentrias. According to surviving accounts, the monastery dates to the period of Venetian rule, and, in an 1848 source, it is referred to as ‘erimomonastirio’—‘deserted monastery’. It was small, and its few monks were engaged in livestock farming. The ruins that still survive around its church are now barely discernible, but older inhabitants of the area recall an entire building complex.
Oral tradition talks of constant pillaging by the Ottomans, and this appears to be one of the reasons why the monastery was abandoned and completely destroyed. According to historians, “its location, in an area particularly well-suited for providing shelter to rebels and its proximity to the Tourkochoria (Turks’ villages) of the fertile plain of Mesara support the theory that the monastery was completely destroyed during the Greek Liberation War of 1821”.
PANAGIA AT TSOUTSOURAS
Amongst the various modern tourist accommodation properties, keen-eyed visitors to Tsoutsouras will notice the ruins of an old monastery’s cells, close to the beach and at some distance from the church of the Panagia.
The truth is that, today, as a result of extensive development in the area, there is nothing left around the church reminiscent of a monastery or hermitage. Judging by the area over which the ruins are spread, it is believed that at least 3-4 monks once lived here.
In the vicinity of the restored church of Theotokos (‘Mother of God’), in the small seaside hamlet of Maridaki, there are three buildings that were once used by monks and hermits (and which, more recently, served as the offices of the hamlet’s cultural centre).
It is not known if and when this was first used as a monastery. However, according to sources, this was the location of a small monastery with at least three monks in the early 20th century.