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Monastery of Hosios Meletios

Hosios Meletios is a monastery on the south side of Mt. Kithairon on the border of Attica and Boeotia. It was founded by St. Meletios the Younger around 1081.

The katholikon is a domed cross-in-square church perhaps dating to the late 11th century. Its exonarthex was added around 1150. The surviving frescoes are post-Byzantine. The ancillary buildings of the monastery were reconstructed during the Ottoman period. Its enclosure, which lacks any towers, is roughly rectangular, measuring around 50 by 60 meters. There are several chapels associated with the monastery outside the complex.

St. Meletios the Younger was born in Cappadocia (perhaps in the 1030s), in the village of Moutalaske, which was also the birthplace of the Palestinian monastic father St. Sabas. Around the age of 15, Meletios ran away from home at the age of 15 or 16 to avoid marriage, and went to Constantinople where he took the monastic habit. He visited Rome and stayed three years in Palestine, visiting the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, Galilee, and the River Jordan. 

He settled at the oratory of St. George near Thebes, where he planned to follow a solitary life on a barren mountainside. Yet as his reputation for holiness spread, large numbers of pilgrims came to visit him, leading him to move to the southern slopes of Mt. Kithairon, where at least two monasteries were already located. He came to the Monastery of the Symboulos, and was entrusted with the Soter, which he later rebuilt on a grand scale. Meletios was then responsible for the construction of several other monasteries in the area. Due to the donations of Alexios I Komnenos, the monastic complex became one of the richest of its time. His cult (his feast day is on September 1) was promoted during the Komnenian era, as two quite prominent hagiographers contributed, Nicholas of Methone and Theodore Prodromos, who wrote his Vita in the 1140s.

The monastery flourished in the 12th to early 13th century. Initially after 1204 Hosios Meletios remained in Greek hands, but in 1218 it was controlled by the Latins. It was plundered perhaps by Theodore Komnenos Doukas of Epiros. The monastery was refounded in 1928, and in 1950 it turned into a nunnery.


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Orlandos, A. “Η μονή του Οσίου Μελετίου και τα παραλαύρια αυτής”  (Αρχείον των Βυζαντινών Μνημείων της Ελλάδος 5)

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Hosios Meletios Album (Byzantine Legacy Flickr)

Monastery of Osios Meletios Kithairona (Religious Greece)

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