On the way to Calarites high up on a vertical rock of 40m high and over the canyon that runs the Kalarrytikos River there is an unguarded religious treasure. The Kipina Monastery, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, is literally buried on the rock with unlimited view of the surrounding peaks. The Kipina Monastery was built in 1349 and belongs to the small settlement of Mystras (old Arborousi or Arborisi). The history of the Monastery is interesting. Seraphim Byzantius (Metropolitan of Arta 1864-1894) reports that it was built by a bishop named Gregory in 1212. The tradition, however, says that it was founded in 1349 by a monk of the Vyliza Monastery who was annoyed because he was not elected abbot, took his followers and left the Monastery determined to establish his own. Searching they located this area not far from the Vyliza Monastery. They liked the place when they saw the cave on the rock because they were safe from the robbery raids. Indeed it proved to be an excellent choice because the monastery never suffered from them. But the problem was in the construction. Access to the cave was almost impossible. The only passage was on the side where they found a gorge of 6 m. width. With a rough wooden bridge they managed to cross over and they were surprised to find that the cave was still going through the rock in a deep cave. This was because this hole was once the bed of an underground river that changed its course due to an earthquake or precipitation, which is why at the foot of the rock where the monastery is located, there is plenty of water. Eventually despite the difficulties they managed to build this beautiful monastery, making it safe from external dangers.

The access to the monastery is made by a small path to its east, carved into the rock, which ends up on a small wooden hanging bridge before entering. The bridge was and remains mobile and raised with a mechanism so that the monastery is inaccessible to the prospective raiders, since a four-meter gap is created on the cliff.
The name, according to linguists, probably derives from Slavic “Kip” which means picture or painting and ending -ina, a name that the neighboring settlement Armporesi also took later. Another version of the name indicates that the Monastery probably owes its name to the gardens that the monks cultivated beneath it.
This cave during the period of Ottoman domination and national resistance was the hiding place of the undercover Greeks and the resistance.

After 1917 the Monastery was abandoned by the monks and has been operating once or twice in the summer. Unprotected and abandoned it became a mark for the anarchists who in the autumn of 1997 stole not only the old icons and relics of great value, but they also stole the entire magnificent iconostasis. All that was stolen was never found and only lately those who managed the monastery thought to lock it.

The peculiarity of the monastery is that from the northern entrance begins the entrance of a cave (unobstructed) with a length of 240m. and maximum height of 9 m. which had been explored in 1956 and 1993 by Anna Petrocheilos and Stefanos Nicolaides, members of the Speleological Greek Expeditionary Group.

 

Amalia
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