Hosios Loukas, Greece
Hosios Loukas is a historic walled monastery situated near the town of Distomo in Greece. It is one of the most important monuments of Middle Byzantine architecture and art, and has been listed on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
The Hosios Loukas monastery was founded in the early 10th century AD by the hermit, Luke of Steiris (in Greek: Lukas), whose relics are kept in the monastery to this day. A hermit is a person who lives in seclusion from society, usually for religious reasons.
Saint Luke (he should not to be confused with the Evangelist author of the Gospel of Saint Luke) died on 7 February 953. He is famous for having predicted the conquest of Crete by Emperor Romanos. The Crete island was actually reconquered by Nicephorus Phocas under Romanos II.
Saint Luke was believed to have been a miraculous healer, levitator, miraculous feeder and prophesier during his lifetime; after his death, all of the miracles associated with him involved the healing power of his tomb.
The main shrine of the monastery is the tomb of Saint Luke, originally situated in the vault, but later placed at the juncture of the two churches. The monastery derived its wealth (including funds required for construction) from the fact that the relics of Saint Luke were said to have exuded myron, a sort of perfumed oil which produced healing miracles. Pilgrims hoping for miraculous help were encouraged to sleep by the side of the tomb in order to be healed by incubation. The mosaics around the tomb represent not only Saint Luke himself, but also hegumen Philotheos offering a likeness of the newly built church to the saint.
The Hosios Loukas, the oldest in the complex, is the only church known with certainty to have been built in the tenth century in its site in mainland Greece. This centralized parallelogram-shaped building is the oldest example of the cross-in-square type in the country; its plan closely follows that of Lips Monastery in Constantinople. The walls are built from mix of bricks, stones, and pieces of marble and display curious patterns.
The Hosios Loukas adjoins a larger cathedral church, or Katholikon, tentatively dated to 1011-12. The Katholikon is the earliest extant domed-octagon church, with eight piers arranged around the perimeter of the nave.
Hosios Loukas is the largest of three monasteries surviving from the Middle Byzantine period in Greece. It differs from the Daphnion and Nea Moni in that it is dedicated to a single military saint. Saint Lukes' prophecy about the reconquest of Crete is commemorated by the image of Joshua on the exterior wall of the Panagia church: Joshua was considered a model "warrior of the faith", whose help was especially effective in the wars waged against the Arabs. The Katholikon contains the best preserved complex of mosaics from the period of the Macedonian Renaissance.
There is evidence that the monastery was reputed all over Byzantium for its lavish decoration, liberally applied to all surfaces. Apart from revetment, carving, gold and silver plate, murals, and mosaics (especially imposing on curving surfaces), the interior featured a choice assortment of icons, chandeliers, silk curtains, and altar cloths.
How to visit Hosios Loukas
We at Monterrasol Travel welcome you to see Hosios Loukas during multiday private car tour. Contact us if you would like to customize your tour to Hosios Loukas.
We have developed several tours that visiting this beautiful place. But, if you have a special conditions or any from these tours fit you, please do not hesitate to contact us, we can organize a tour exactly as you would like. And remember, we have no problems to take you from almost any place where you stay, hotel or private accommodation.
Last updated on: 31 October 2019
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