Ο τοπικός πολιτισμός της περιοχής των Τζουμέρκων
Υπόμνημα:

P4: The Holy Monastery of Vyliza in Matsouki

From Kalarrytes, we cross through the settlement of Christoi and continue toward the settlement of Matsouki.

To the settlement’s left there is a raised point where the path leading to the Monastery begins. After walking for about half an hour we see from a distance on the edge of the Kritharia mountain The Holy Monastery of Vyliza, also known as the Panagia Evangelistria Monastery. Being a fortress and lookout point, the Monastery is well protected. Vigla (βίγλα) in Greek literally means “perch” hence the Monastery’s name “Vyliza.” Its restoration was made possible thanks to the persistence of the local people. Today, the Monastery consists of a devout pilgrimage site for the locals and others coming from neighboring settlements. In order to accommodate all locals and non-locals during the religious celebration and festival in honor of the feast day of Panagia (Holy Mary), a double celebration started to take place from approximately 1925 onwards. On the 25th of March, the day of the Annunciation of Mary, as well as on August 15th, there is a three-day festival. In the Monastery’s northern side there is the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist (17th-18th century). Its iconography is entirely painted by artists Georgios and Stergios from Kalarrytes (1737). The iconographic program which is dominated by the presentation of Hymns, as seen depicted in the dome, as well as scenes of martyrdom demonstrates how the Monastery functioned as an ossuary. The mural showing the “Unmerciful Grim Reaper” is especially impressive.

In a specially designed area in the local primary school of the Matsouki settlement an important collection of portable icons and other exhibits from the monastery of Vyliza are showcased. Rare manuscripts (14th and 15th centuries) and recovered books from the Monastery are also safeguarded in an organized library. It is worth emphasizing, however, that many of the exhibits are not just museum items or protected evidence of cultural heritage. Such items continue to function as objects of religious worship. Every year on the religious celebration of the Holy Mary and John the Baptist respectively the priest carries the icons with reverence to the place of worship, The Monastery. The icons thus become holy objects and shrines. In the settlement we can see the remnants of a traditional residential architecture, an operating water basin, a restored watermill and the arched stone Bridge of Stafyla, beneath which the Kalarrytikos River flows.