Andros is an island known for its long history, rich in religious tradition. It comes as no surprise that the island boasts a great number of significant religious monuments, churches and monasteries.
Dotted all around the countryside are the impressive Byzantine monasteries of Andros, built in secluded and remarkable spots, which are the perfect destination for meditation and prayer. Another striking fact about them is that they hold icons, which are considered miraculous, and, also, important relics.
A visit to the most important historical monasteries of the island is surely worth the time, though access to them requires a car. Apartments in Andros villages may also arrange trips to monasteries.
Monastery of Panachrantou
Among the most important monasteries in Andros is the Monastery of Panachrantou, built on the edge of a verdant mountain amidst impressive rock formations at the Geronakas area. It was built in the 10th century by order of the General Nikiforos Fokas, who would later become Emperor of the Eastern Roman empire, and its long and narrow shape resembles a Byzantine fortress.
The Monastery of Panachrantou houses the sacred icon of the Virgin Mary, attributed to St.Luke, and is dedicated to the Immaculate Holy Mother. It is also called monastery of Saint Panteleimon, as it keeps the relic skull of St. Panteleimon. From the premises of the monastery visitors can enjoy a fantastic view to the Aegean sea and the amazing Chora settlement.
Monastery of Zoodochos Pighi
Found north of the popular Batsi settlement, the Monastery of Zoodochos Pighi is the largest and one of the most impressive monasteries of Andros. Its construction date remains still unknown, but researchers have discovered a reference of the monastery in a document from the 15th century. Since 1928 it has been functioning as a nunnery, celebrating in the first Friday after the Orthodox Easter.
The monastery of Zoodochos Pighi is distinguished for its beautiful wooden carved iconostasis, made in the 14th and 16th century, embellished by masterful Byzantine and post-Byzantine paintings. There is also a rich library worth visiting and an Ecclesiastical Museum with religious exhibitis, such as holy vestments and other items.
Monastery of Agia Marina
World-wide celebrated for the miraculous and protective qualities, attributed to its icons, the Monastery of Agia Marina stands on the slopes of a hill across Apikia village north of Andros Chora. It was built in the 14th century, burned many times during the 16th and 17 century and then again restored by monk Sofronio in 1746, when it was turned into a nunnery.
International and Greek religious tourists come to the Monastery of Agia Marina, one of the most interesting monasteries of Andros, to pay homage to the saint Agia Marina and drink water from Sariza spring, considered to be holy and have healing properties.