Leimonos Monastery

Founded in 1526 by Ignatios Agallianos, celebrated today as a saint by the Greek Orthodox Church, the monastery of Leimon (also known as Leimonos Monastery) has played since a very significant role in the church history of the island of Lesbos, at the centre of which it is located.

Written sources contemporary to the establishment of the monastery speak not of not of a foundation but a refoundation, as it was built on the ruins of a Byzantine monastery, on which we have no information. At the time of its refoundation by Saint Ignatios the monastery was dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Later, when the founder was canonized as saint by the Church, the monastery was dedicated to him.

From the very beginning of its existence, Leimonos monastery had a very close and strong relationship to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which secured the monastery's property (accumulated in a short time mainly by donations). Leimonos monastery became this way a wealthy institution that played an important role in the religious, intellectual, educational, social and economic life of the western and northern part of Lesbos. To name just one example, we may refer to the establishment of the so-called 'Leimonias school' for children within the monastery in the first decade of its existence.'Leimonias school' was the first school to be established on Lesbos after the occupation of the island by the Ottoman Turks (1462-1912), and for quite a long period, the only one existed.

In most of the Ottoman period the monastery prospered and hosted a good number of monks, not only from Lesbos but also from other Greek areas. During the 20th c. until our days, its brotherhood was reduced to just a handful of monks. Today the monastery is mostly known for its main church (katholikon), a monument of the 16th c. and its collections of manuscripts, Greek and Ottoman documents, portable icons, ecclesiastical and folk objects.

The name of the monastery derives most probably from the lush vegetation of the valley in which it is built, 'leimon' meaning meadow ('leimonos', in genitive, means 'of the meadow'). For more information on Leimonos Monastery, please visit their website here.

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