Holy Monastery of Loukous

From the “Mount Parnon and Moustos Wetland Management Agency, 2015. Guide for the protected area of ​​Mount Parnon and Moustos Wetland. Nature, Culture, Ecotourism. Astros of Arcadia

 Loukous Monastery is one of the most important living monasteries in Arcadia. It is located on the road between Astros and Kato Doliana and is 4 km away from Astros. 205), while the river Tanos flows opposite it.

According to archeological findings in the wider area, the monastery seems to have been built near or on the site of ancient settlements. Here was also the sanctuary of Asclepius and the sanctuary of the Warrior. The various sections of ancient buildings, as well as the descriptions of statues or architectural members found in its area, confirm that Loukou was the sacred place where a wonderful composition of ancient Greek and Christian culture could be created.

Many views have been expressed on the name Loukou. According to them, A. Orlando and G. Sotiriou, there were probably many wolves in the area and initially the monastery was named “Lykou”. According to G. Konstantopoulos, the name probably came from the “gullies”, ie the canals that exist in the monastery. Another hypothesis, recorded in code by the abbot Joseph Coralli, the place name may be of Latin origin from “Lucus Feroniae”: the forest, where Herod’s mansion was inside. Forest full of prey, springs, plane trees (“Lucus” in Latin means sacred forest, grove, forest).

The monastery has been called “of Luke” since at least the beginning of the 17th century, confirming the existence of its cruciform status. The year 1649 AD is recorded as the year of the hagiography of the temple, probably, according to its scholars. Other important dates for the monastery are: in 1730 AD, when Abbot Fourmont destroys hundreds of valuable testimonies, inscriptions, statues, as well as works of speech and art of the monastery, so that only he has the privilege of copying them! In 1826 AD, Ibrahim ordered its cremation and thus gold bullion, precious heirlooms and valuable documents were destroyed. However, the katholikon was saved from destruction, as well as the wood-carved iconostasis and the sacred icons, which were fled by the fathers of the monastery. The monastery of Loukos in its modern form generally maintains an impression of harmony, picturesqueness and beauty. The large rectangular building complex, which surrounds the Luke Cathedral, gives it a fortified character. In the courtyard of the monastery there are many capitals of Corinthian and Ionian type, marble bases of columns and amphitheaters, capitals of pilasters, entablatures and columns. Other architectural members are built as decorations in the church, mainly in the SE vertical wall and in the other buildings of the monastery. At the beginning of the 19th c. The monks collected ancient sculptures and placed them in the courtyard of the monastery, while later, the most important ones were transferred to the National Archaeological Museum. In 1977 the Hellenic Archaeological Service carried out excavations in the area, with significant results. The inner courtyard of the monastery is dominated by the katholikon, which has decorated the SE sides, with early Christian and ancient Greek architectural members and there is a strong imitation of a brick-enclosed building. It is a masterpiece of architecture and temple construction. It is of the four-column type, a complex inscribed cross with an octagonal dome and has three three-sided arches of a sanctuary on the east side. Inside there is the so-called four-chamber and the four corner smaller apartments that are housed with shields. According to recent research by both M. Hatzidakis and C. Bouras, the katholikon of the monastery belongs to the post-Byzantine temples in imitation of Byzantine models. The katholikon is recorded internally with frescoes by an unknown artist, which, although they bear traces of history, such as damage to the faces of the depicted saints, are, for the most part, preserved in excellent condition. The monastery maintains a rich library where manuscript codes and patriarchal documents are also kept. One of them on film is by Gregory ED. The catholic of the monastery is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Lord and celebrates on the 6th of August. Early Christian iconostasis colonnade (left of the door)

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