To the municipality of Litochoro, there are two monasteries Saint Dionysius consecrated. The older of the two monasteries is located at an elevation of 850 m on the edge of the Enipeas gorge, the more recent something outside the village.
The New Monastery
About three kilometers above Litochoro Lies the new monastery of Saint Dionysius. It was built on the site of the Metochions built. The Metochion was founded in 1650 and consisted, apart from the lands, of only one church and another building, where the monks lived, who took care of the farm.
In the new monastery, women are allowed access to all public areas. However with the request for propper clothing. Short skirts and short tops are frowned upon. Directly behind the entrance door lie some adequate clothing, from which woman can borrow a suitable skirt to wear over her clothes. Smoking is not permitted in the monastery. The monks expect a proper attitude to the sacred place.
The monastery is not assigned to any local bishop but it is
stavropegial . This means that it can act largely free because it is directly attributed to the Patriarch.
The original part of the monastery is provided with a heavy iron door and thus separated from the rest of the facility. Access to this area is only allowed for men. Here are the old church, the cells of the monks, the refectory and the administrative building. Just outside are the stables, workshops and the cheese factory. In the meantime 27 monks live in the plant. There are the places accessible to women, such as the new church, the museum and the monastery shop. The church is, as might be otherwise, dedicated to Saint Dionysius. Every Sunday the sacred liturgy is celebrated in it. Apart from a few renovated buildings, all other buildings were built after 1985.
Many of the daily works in the two monasteries are done by the monks themselves Since the 17th century, the monastery owns extensive territories. Fruit and olive trees grow on them, and goats, chickens and black pigs are kept. These pigs were bred only at Olympus, but have become very rare. In the cheese factory different types of cheese are produced. In the butcher shop the monks produce the Loukaniko, a traditional Greek type of bratwurst.
Today cattle breeding is no longer just for their own diet. The products are sold in the museum shop and some shops in the surrounding villages. All products are made according to old tradition, nowadays this is known as biological farming. In particular the cheese is widely known.
Two monks deal with icon painting. They continue an old tradition, because this art is cultivated over the centuries. In the renovated former quarters of the Abbot, the museum resides. Above the museum is the library of the monastery. In addition to venerable old works are predominantly more recent books on the shelves.
It was built in classical orthodox style. An image of Saint Dionysius adorns the entrance.
At the first glance, the decor looks quite unadorned. The walls and the ceiling are merely plastered, without further decorations. A beautiful tapestry hangs on the wall on the right, the inlaid work on the stone floor is remarkable.
Inside, there is a special feature of the Katholikon.
As in the church of the old convent, a heavy chandelier hangs from the ceiling, which is filled with wax candles. It is adorned with 13, partly painted ostrich eggs.
It is noticeable that many chairs, standing consoles and other items are decorated with marquetry. The inserts are made of ivory or mother-of-pearl. Former cartridge cases are used as flower vases. An artist has elaborated church motifs out of the metal in relief-technique. This is how one sees Saint Dionysius as he preaches or depictions of other important scenes. Only the smallest grenade sleeve has a floral pattern.
On a small table stands an icon depicting the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Next to it is a little basket with notes and pens. Believers who want to make a request to the saint can put it here on paper.
Next to the church, the museum is worth a visit. In troubled times, of which the old monastery lived some, monks were hiding the monastic treasures in secret vaults. Of the many valuable exhibits I would like to mention only a few:
Quite inconspicuous, but significant, some framed black-and-white photographs hang near the entrance. They show the old monastery in the mountains just before its destruction. A soldier of the Wehrmacht made these pictures and sent them to the monastery a few years ago Unfortunately the photography and filming in the museum is forbidden.