Dominican monks built the Kournas Monastery during the Franks Occupation of Chios between 1346-1566. It is located on the outskirts of the Penthodom mountain approximately 2,5 kilometers from the village Karyes and a short distance from the road leading to the Aghios Markos Monastery.
The Monastery is comprised of a church, monks’ quarters, and annexed buildings. The quarters are of significant interest due to their magnificently sculpted decor within the interior staircase pilasters. The inscriptions on the doorframes within the church are very similar to the one’s in Nea Moni and are quite significant.
Since the 15th century, many travelers have passed by the Kournas Monastery and have reflected on it in addition to their reflections on Nea Moni. The first written citations were by Bontelmontius who visited the island in 1422. He described the church as being the “church of the Virgin Mary Coronata, greatly respected by all.” Most travelers however consider the church honored by all nations, meaning all religious creeds.
The Monastery passed to the Orthodox monks around 1658. The fact that the church today honors the name Zoodohou Pighi is of no surprise considering the period the Monastery passed to the hands of the Orthodox.
In the beginning of the 20th century, the Kournas Monastery became active in religious painting as did other monasteries located on the island. The icons that are exhibited here display a peculiar, local technique that is worth studying in detail.
Today, the Monastery no longer operates, however, a large festival takes place on its Feast Day.
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