Hossios Loukas and Boeotia
Set in powerful yet peaceful rural natural surroundings, Hosios Loukas (Venerable Luke) is a large walled monastery complex located on the foothills of Mt Helikon, in Boeotia.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hosios Loukas is one of the most important monuments of Middle Byzantine art and architecture and was founded by the hermit Hosios Loukas, whose relics are still kept in the monastery, in early-10th century AD. The main shrine is the mosaic-surrounded tomb of Hosios Loukas whilst the complex contains the Church of the Theotokos, which is the oldest in the site and the only church known with certainty to have been constructed in the tenth century in Greece.
A larger cathedral, the Katholikon built in 1011-1012 adjoins the Church of the Theotokos and presents very interesting architectural elements.
Being the largest of the three monasteries surviving in Greece from the particular period, Hosios Loukas was renowned throughout the Byzantine Empire for its gold and sliver plate, mosaics, murals and carvings. The monastery derived its great wealth from the belief that the relics of Hosios Loukas exuded healing myrrh (myron), thus attracting large numbers of hopeful pilgrims hoping for miraculous help, supposedly received by their sleeping overnight by the side of the tomb.
An interesting and inspiring destination in its own right, Hosios Loukas lies one of the roads connecting Athens with Delphi and is thus also a must-see stop over for travellers on that route.
All images and clips copyright Eric CB Cauchi / Eternal Greece Ltd, unless otherwise stated.