Osios Loukas – One Of The Most Beautiful Greek Monasteries
A historic monument that flourishes before a valley of olive and almond trees
What you need to know about Osios Loukas is that it is a monastery that is over 1000 years old. It is also a protected monument of UNESCO and every day it welcomes visitors from all around the world that pay tribute to its elegant aesthetic and undeniable value.
The unparalleled aesthetic of Osios Loukas Monastery and the surrounding nature make you feel calm, whether you light up a candle and kneel or not. This destination maintains it’s purely religious identity and is at the same time one of the most important monuments of the Byzantine period. Together with the Nea Moni of Chios and the Monastery of Daphni, the monastery of Osios Loukas is included in the list of World Heritage monuments by UNESCO.
To get to Osios Loukas from Athens you are going to follow signs towards Delphi. There, tucked between the city of Livadia and the western slope of mount Elikonas is the monastery, overlooking a valley full of olive trees and surrounded by almond trees. Each time of the year the colours of the setting are different but equally charming.
The Special “Touch” of Osios Loukas
Osios Loukas is the largest and best-preserved monastery complex of the Middle Byzantine Period. In continuous use for centuries, it is a place of cult with a living monastic community. Its authenticity is expressed mainly by the form and design, the construction materials, the excellent decoration of mosaics, wall paintings and sculptures and the spirit and feeling of the place.
The foundation of the monastery is related to the presence of the local Osios Loukas, who was an ascetic here in the last years of his life, from 946/7 to 953. He was a gifted man, who performed miracles and had the gift of prophecy. Exactly where his small, unobserved cell was, we can see today the Crypt of St. Varvara and his marble grave.
In the basement of the two bigger and impressive temples that constitute the main building complex and look tightly hugged, you can see the Temple of Mother Mary and right beside it the central imposing Temple of Osios Loukas, an architectural achievement of the 10th century.
This temple and its mosaics are the characteristics of the monastery that has created its great reputation all around the world.
Human Presence and Nature
So many visitors from all over the world come to admire this unique monument. They become enthralled by Byzantine art and the architecture of this astonishing complex. Those most attentive, take the time to notice the little details, that testify to the continuous presence of this monastery throughout the history of Central Greece.
Like the main soldered wooden door which is full of bullet marks from the Occupation of the Nazis period.
Monks offer visitors a delicious loukoumi and a cold drink and after the tour most chose to have some rest under the giant plane trees. What you are sure to enjoy more than your coffee, snack or refreshment is the view of this magical architectural form that blends in perfectly with its surrounding nature. The mountains in the background, the valley that pours beside the monastery hill, the trees and flowers in the fields.
No matter the season, the sounds of nature create a deep and unforgettable sense of harmony and belonging.
- Have you visited the Monastery of Osios Loukas? What was the highlight of your visit?
Maria as a child collected with her little hands, grapes, olives, nuts, almonds, and vegetables helping out her family with all the tasks that needed to be done for their home, becoming rich in memories and values of the simple Greek way of living.
She lives in Delphi Greece and loves to use her words to share more about her homeland.