Among the villages of Ancient Messini (Mavrommatis), Valyra, and Ithomi (at an altitude of 55om.) the Historical male Monastery of Our Lady of Voulkanou is settled. The name "Vulcan" and formerly "Vourkano", "Dorkano" and "Vulcano" might derive from Byzantine ruler or owner to who the region of Mount Ithomi belonged to.

The monastery of "Summit" or "Catholic", the first monastery in the area, was built in the same place where once stood the outdoor altar of Zeus Ithomata. Wild and jagged rocks, as if mined of a volcano, give us the colour of a splendid and rare view. In this holy and ancient place, the monastery of Summit was built, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary celebrated on the August 15.

According to the tradition, the monastery of the Summit was built in the early 8th century during the fights between the supporters and the opponents of the icon worship. It is said that it was built by some monks from the nearby mountain Eve. A stormy night the monks saw from their cloisters, the icon of the Virgin Mary hanging on the branches of an oak, lit by a lantern. Even though the storm was raging, the light from the lantern was still on. The following day they went on the mountains and after they had found the icon and the lantern, they decided to build, in the very same place, a monastery.

The Cathedral was built with materials taken from the ancient Messina. On the base of the structure you can see pieces from ancient Doric columns and Roman inscriptions. The Byzantine church of the old monastery was a three-aisled vaulted basilica, now two-aisled with many subsequent interventions.  The frescos of the Catholic that had been painted from Nafplio brothers Dimitrios and Georgios Moschos, in 1608 are equally important. In  1625 as  the monks could not cope with the harsh  living conditions in the monastery of Boulkanou, they bought flat location on the site of a deserted village and a two-storey tower thereby to establish the Nea Moni Boulkanou, the present imposing monastery complex.

The church of the new monastery was built in 1701 and in a Byzantine style, cruciform with a dome. It is dedicated to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, while the church of the old monastery was dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the central feast of both monasteries.

The Treasure of the monastery is the miraculous icon of Our Lady Voulkaniotissas, bearing the inscription "Odigeitria which means “leader to the mount Vulcan."  holy relics of many saints of our Church, including St. John the Martyr Monemvasia, Agios Dionysios Areopagitou and Kalamatianou St. Elias Ardouni are still kept in the monanstery.

During the celebration of The Assumption on the 15th of August the icon of the Virgin Mary is transferred to the old monastery of Summit. Also, on the night of 19 to 20 September, many people escort the transfer of the icon back to the city of Messina to commemorate the miraculous intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary, when  plague  had spread across  Messinia and scattered death and misery in around 1755.


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