Zoodochos Pigi Monastery

Zoodochos Pigi Monastery

The Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi or Agia in Andros

The Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi is the largest monastery of Andros. The locals call it "Saint's" and it celebrates on the first Friday after Easter Sunday. From far it looks like a small imposing fortress because of its location, overlooking the blue of the Cyclades between Gavrio and Batsi just 7 km from the main port of the island.

The exact time of the construction of the monastery is unknown. Dionysios of Andros who served as metropolitan of Xanthi in the period 1861-1867, mentions that a Byzantine school operated in the area and that in 842, after the restoration of the icons, it was established as a monastery.

The first official date is 1325 confirmed by a silver icon and a document bearing dates. The church of Byzantine style with a wood-carved iconostasis and painted decoration dates back to the post-Byzantine period. There are many icons of the 14th and 16th century and an important library, with rare books and manuscripts. There is a museum with sacred vestments and utensils and a small collection of prehistoric tools.

After the Franks abandoned Andros, the monastery was destroyed. It is said that it was renovated in 1578 by two monks, Makarios Delagrammatikas and Stratonikos Stratigopoulos. The Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi flourishes when newcomers monks started arriving there and its influence is reinforced with works carried out in 1603 and 1717. The monk Ioannikios, probably a member of the Filiki Eteria, takes care of its fortification. He expanded the monastery with new buildings spending his property and the monastery’s until 1831. At the end of the 17th century, 100 monks monked in the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, who were limited to 51 until 1836. In 1928, the monastery was converted into a nunnery, as it remains to this day.

The Miraculous Source

The construction of the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi or Saint, according to tales of the region, is connected with the vision of a simple man, to whom the Virgin Mary indicated the current location. Further north of the monastery, workers who built a monastery, lost their tools every night because they were disappearing. A resident of the island, who was having trouble with his own eyes, was passing through the area. On the way he was thirsty, but could not find water. Then, a goat with a wet "beard" passed in front of him.

The resident realized that there was a source somewhere and, when he approached, he saw in front of him a woman, to whom he was carrying the health problem he was facing. The woman urged him to wash his eyes with the spring water to be cured and he did. Miraculously his vision came back and his wife revealed that it was the Virgin Mary, who asked him to go to the workers who were building the monastery and tell them to stop building it and build a new one in the current location, where an ancient settlement had been developed. They obeyed.