#210 Seltsou Monastery


The rich history of the monastery is well hidden in the inaccessible region that it is built. Within two hours of the village Piges of Arta, in a small area of Fraxos, above the right bank of the Achelous River, the historic monastery of Seltsou or Seltzou or Holy Mother Seltsiotissa is located.

The monastery is built in one of the most inaccessible regions of Epirus and is accessible only through Piges village.

Construction Data

The monastery of Seltsou is an Athonite type basilica. The central part of the nave is under the transverse navicular dome, which externally appears as a rectangular gallery covered with a double roof and inside the angles become round and take the form of a dome. On the eastern and western part of the nave is under long arcs. 1

The temple is built of hewn limestone with interlaying mortar. The entrance is at the north wall, while inside there are a few windows-a characteristic of the times of its construction- and it has tiled floor.

The exterior of temple is covered with gabled slate roofs and its enclosure is built of dry stone.

The brickwork decoration is limited to the three-sided apse, while the iconography of the church is divided into zones.

In the lower zone (A) the great saints of the Orthodox Church are fully distinguished. In the next zone (B) we can identify the minor saints and above them a single (C) zone has been painted around them, which ends at the apse of the sanctuary that has the 24 oikos (=houses) of the Akathist Hymn.

The large despotic and Marian feasts are depicted in D and E zone on the surfaces of the domes and on the domes of the two lateral rooms the central scenes of the Dodekaorton, the Transfiguration and the Resurrection of the Lord are depicted.

"The highest performances with symbolic meaning are placed on the highest and most visible parts of the church. The iconography established for a dome fits the dome of the transverse arch. "2

The iconography of the temple dates back to the 17th century, when the wooden iconostasis was created. The magnificent iconostasis of the monastery is richly decorated with plant and animal decorations that are gilt and slightly carved, red or blue.

Nowadays the only parts of the monastery that have survived are the half-ruined church and a few cells on the north side. The monastery has been classified as a historical monument, both for its historical and its cultural heritage.

The Municipality of Tetrafyllia, in collaboration with the Municipality of Souli, organize there every year a seven-day event," the Celebrations of Seltsou" to honor the heroism and sacrifice of the people who died in April 1804 from the monastery to the Achelous river to escape the Turk-Albanian army of Ali Pasha, during the historic battle between the troops of Ali Pasha and the people of Souli.3

Historical Data

This is a post-Byzantine church with a rich history that was founded in 1697, as written on an inscription inside. The monastery is dedicated to the Assumption and it celebrates on August 23.

In the past it belonged to the Diocese of Radoviziou (Radiovisdiou or Radovistiou) whose seat was Velentziko (until 1830) and was part of the Metropolis of Larissa. Since 1881, the area of Radoviziou, a dependency of the Monastery of Rovelista, falls under the County and the Metropolis of Arta.

According to the inscription that is located on the inside of the nave, the construction and decoration were sponsored by the monks Rigiinos, Bartholomew, Zaharios, Alexios, priest Alexios, Jacob, Dionysius, Bishop Arsenios and "honored lords" misters Nikos and Apostolis.

Σύμφωνα με την κτητορική επιγραφή που βρίσκεται στο εσωτερικό του κυρίως ναού, η ανέγερση και ιστόρηση του έγιναν με χορηγία των Ιερομόναχων Ρηγηίνου, Βαρθολομαίου, Ζαχαρίου, Αλεξίου, Αλεξίου ιερέως, Ιακώβου, Διονυσίου, του Επισκόπου κυρ Αρσενίου και των "εντιμότατων αρχόντων" κυρ Νίκου και Αποστόλη.

Additional information of historical, cultural and tourism interest

The Regional Unity of Arta is littered with landscapes and points of particular archaeological, historical, environmental, religious, architectural interest. Part of all this natural beauty is of course the municipality of Georgios Karaiskakis.

Therefore, the municipality of G. Karaiskakis consists of the oldest municipalities of Iraclias, Karaiskakis Tetrafilia.Seat of the municipality is Upper Kalentini and the Springs are considered historic seat . The communities that make up the municipality are the municipalities: Dimario, Diasella, Klidiou, Petras, Skoulikaria, Upper Kalentini, Velentzikou, Dichomoiriou, Retsianon, Elatis, Kastaneas, Megaloxaris, Messopyrgos, Miliani, Pigon.

Specifically, the municipality saved many archaeological discoveries of classical (ie. Ancient cemetery on the way to the place "Zigos"), Byzantine and post-Byzantine period (many churches and monasteries), which distinguished between the Church of St. Astrochori Barbara in the "Red church" and the monastery of Rovelistas community rug, the monastery in the village Seltsou Sources). Also, the stone structures are quite honorable (excellent is the stone bridge at "Kamara Plakovitsas" in Diasella the Korakogefyro, of great historical importance in the village Piges is the bridge, the bridge of the Upper Vratsista Kalentini, but also the community Diavologefyro rug) and pre-industrial buildings (eg. fulling and the watermill at "River Plakovitsa" the watermill, and a fulling mantani of Ag. Varvara) help the visitor to compose the image of this magnificent landscape over time.

Apart from the points of natural-cultural-historical interest, the visitor will be able to exploit a wide range of options live alternative tourism, which unfolded before his eyes. Such choices are the water routes and Canoe Kayak Rafting, at the technical lake of Pournariou and Arachtos respectively. Other activities include horse riding, cycling (eg. Trail bike, 80 km long that passes by: Diaselo- Chelona - Kalentini - Velentziko - Diasolo) hiking (in the mountains of Tzoumerkon, Xerovounio and Gavrogos), hiking in the forest (eg in spruce forest on the route between Giannioti and Skoulikaria), paragliding, participation in health tourism (Spas Chanopoulos) and numerous local traditions and customs (festivals, celebrations, etc.) like the famous Karaiskakeia, the Feast Provatina etc. All these complete the range of activities of alternative tourism, offering new experiences through nature, revealing its most primal form.