Monastery of Agioi Apostles of Lithari
On the left side of the National Road of Preveza – Arta and 1km off the intersection towards Nea Sampsounta (17 km from Preveza) – at the location “Lithari” – there is one of the most famous Monasteries of the prefecture of Preveza. It is the Monastery of Apostles Peter and Paul, mostly known as Monastery of Lithari.
An old tradition, living in the region, claims that the message about Christ and His Resurrection at Nikopoli of Epirus was spread by famous Apostle Paul. Heading to Nikopoli, about 15km away from the well-known big city, and seated on a stone, he talked to those “who happened to be there” about Jesus. And then, the location and the stone, were recorded in the consciousness of the Christian people of the region, in a sacred and wholly way, since that was the place where the Beginning of Epirus was created.
The location “Lithari” (stone) is the place where the church of Agioi Apostoloi was built, since ancient times, but it is unknown exactly when, either in roman, or early Christian remains. The scholarArchbishop of Arta Serafeim Xenopoulos the Byzantine, walking around the place in 1867, he found again the “Holly stone” (Agiolitharo) (as the people of Preveza call it) next to the south side of the altar, he put up fences and he built on this canopy-iconostasis, which exists up today.
Some years later, the Monastery of Lithari is being destroyed by fire. It is renovated once more in 1871 by the monk Ignatios Zabetis. In 1916 it is being merged to Zalongo Monastery. During Second World War, the Germans burn the cellars of the west side of the Monastery next to a bunch of cypress trees. A little bit northern of the temple in 1988 a new church with a dome is being built and in 1995 the old temple is being renovated.
The old Katolikon of the Lithari Monastery is a single-naved basilica with wooden roof and a tiled floor. It is divided into a narthex- matroneum, the main temple and the Sanctuary, with two doors on its south side.
The “Agiolitharo” nowadays is a living testimony of numerous miracles and visions and appearances of Saint Apostle and founder of our regional church.
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