#76 Church of Saints Apostles (Molyvdoskepasti)


The Molyvdoskepastos is situated on the eastern slopes of Mount Nemertsika, at an altitude of 596m. It is 17 km from Konitsa and just a few hundred meters from Albania. Dipalitsa, as it was called in the past, was from antiquity transportation hub and an important economic and administrative center.

In the center of the village, in a prominent position, founded on a cliff, stands the ruined Byzantine church of Agios Dimitrios.

Construction Data

This is a free running single-room church with narthex, from which we have today the arch and the lateral walls of the church, until about the genesis of the dome and the walls of the vestibule as the middle of their original height. The remains were fixed by the Archaeological Service / 8th Byzantine Antiquities in the 1990s.

The temple was housed probably with a semicircular arch which supported three strainers (arrows) of which survive inside the temple only pilasters. Traces of the arch stand in northwestern and southeastern corner of the temple. The big great arch occupies the entire width of the church. Outside, in the upper, are opened seven double shallow arches. From four arches outside are opened the north and south wall of the nave. The temple has two entrances on the south and the west wall of the narthex, which communicates with the nave with a central door, above which was an arch. Illuminated with six small monolova windows with brick arches.

The lower part of the walls of the church, the narthex and the dividing wall between the narthex and the temple are built of roughly worked stones in horizontal rows. In the upper parts, from the point of generation and arched over, in the stone are inserted intermittently double horizontal bands of brick and limestone treated with the insertion areas are built of mud-brick cylinder and the apse. Minimum brickwork decoration maintained in the eastern part of the church. Toothed belt encircles the vaulted arches and cornice of the apse, and the drum of the central arched distinguished cross country brick. Brick arches, twin or double adorned windows.

Inside the arch opened four semicircular niches, in pairs on each side, which are used as intended and ministry. Impressive is the large number of vessels that are embedded in the eastern part of the church, which served to better acoustics during operation. Two large niches exist between the two jambs of the eastern church, while another rectangular alcove located on the south wall of the narthex. The church was originally brought frescoes by keeping traces in the eastern part. The Englishman Byzantinologist Donald Nicol, the main designer of monuments Molyvoskepastou, who first published the temple, the place chronologically in the 11th century, however, both the early dating of the monument has been questioned by modern scholars dating the monument during the reign of Despotate.

Historical Data

The name of the village comes from the extension of the name of the monastery Molyvdoskepastos around the village during the Ottoman period. Sources referred as Depolitsa or Dipalitsa and occurs from late Byzantine period (13th century). In 1298 it was the headquarters of the diocese Pogoniani. After the fall of Constantinople it was placed fifth in the list of dependent Patriarchate Dioceses. Cathedral of the Diocese was the church of the Holy Apostles, today's parish church community. Throughout the Ottoman figures testified religious and social life of the village. Today belongs to the Municipality of Konitsa and church in Metropolis Dryinoupolis, Pogoniani and Konitsis. In the village and around it has survived a number of church monuments, irrefutable evidence of the unbroken continuity of life and the role of culture in the settlement of the area by the middle Byzantine period until today.

Additional information of historical, cultural and tourism interest

Konitsa during recent years has become one of the most attractive destinations for Greek and foreign travelers, since apart from hosting countless activities, it also has numerous places of historical, cultural, civil and natural interest.

From the Early Christian and Byzantine period (4th century AD - 1430), some of the monuments preserved are, the castle (14th century), the church of the Red Panagia (late 13th century) in the Konitsa field, the temple of St. Nikolaos (14th century), the temple of St. Dimitrios (11th century) and the Monasteries of Theotokos (14th century) and of Metamorfosi Sotiros (1305) in Kleidonia. From the Ottoman period (1430-1913) remain, the temple of St .Apostles (1791), the Muslim mosque of Suleiman (16th century) the cathedral of St. Nikolas (1842), the residence of Hamko (18th century), the residence of Sisko (1845), the temple of St. Apostles (1537), the temple of St. Athanasios (1617) and the chapel of Neo-Martyr George, with 120 pictures made from Chioniadites painters.

An introduction to the town's traditional architecture can be done in Upper Konitsa, where most of the mansions and housing estates, built during the Ottoman period, can be found. In the area there are more than 50 preserved buildings, from which the ones standing out are, the Husein Bey Sisko, the Hamko residential estate, the Mpekiareiko, the Floreiko, the Papadiamantis residence, the Schinias residence, the Voudasis residence, the Housious residence, and others.

One of the trademark attractions of the region is undoubtedly the large singe arched bridge of Konitsa, which imposes at the edge of the settlement, in the Aoos gorge. The infamous bridge was built in 1870 by chief mason Zioga Frontzo form Pirsogianni and its dimensions are 20 x 40. It is a true monument of architectural heritage that one ought's to visit on his way to Konitsa.

One can also encounter great monuments of historical and cultural heritage, in the villages around Konitsa, like the "Kleidi" and "Mpoila" rock shelters that host findings indicating the existence of human presence in the region since the Late Stone Age, and the "Megalakkos" cave.

In the Kleidonia village, which is located on the outskirts of the Konitsa plain, at a distance of 14km from the town, the visitor is advised to visit the homonymous bridge, the temple of the Metemorfosis tou Sotiros, and the Monastery of St. Anargiroi.

The bridge of Kleidoniavista or Voidomati, is a single arched bridge situated on the banks of Voidomatis River, and connects Zagori with Konitsa. It was built in 1853 and was funded (37000 grosz) by the benefactor Mpalkiz Hanoum of Malik Pasha. The bridge's name was derived from the almost abandoned mountainous village of Kleidoniavista (Upper Kleidonia). It is a single arched bridge, with 20m span and 9,15m height, while its deck is cobbled (paved in a kalnterimi style)

Mpourazani is located approximately 12 km from Konitsa. Mpourazani is not a village, but an area subjected to the Aidonochori community, with rich natural environment and remarkable touristic growth over the last years.

In the region we can find the base of the Mpourazani Environmental Park, which spreads over an area of 1200 acres. It contains rich vegetation and is home to various species of wild animals, like deer, wild boars, and wild goats. In addition the village there is an operational Museum of Natural History.

At the point where Aoos meets the Nemertsika foothills, we encounter the Monastery of Koimiseos of Theotokou Molivdoskepastis. According to tradition, it was built by Emperor Konstantinos Pagonatos in the 7th century AD and derived its name from the led plates that used to cover its central temple. From the 12th until the 17th century the Monastery was the seat of the Pogonianis Archdiocese, while from the 14th century it operated as a chirographer school. In July 1943 it was bombed by the occupation armies, resulting to the destruction of the cells and the diner. The central byzantine rhythm temple of the Monastery together with its wood carved templon, are particularly interesting.

At the end of the route through the Lakka Aoou villages, we find Distrato, which is built below the Gomara summit (alt. 2126m) of Vasilitsa. There are three neighborhoods (machalades) in Distrato: The Machalitsio (Lower machalas), where byzantine and roman/ancient tombs were discovered, the Middle machalas and the Upper machalas (machlelou nti tziana).

Approaching the infamous Mastorochoria villages, we make our first stop in Pirsogianni, which is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of Mount Steno at 860m. While walking on its graphic alleys we can admire the mansions and elaborate stone constructs, most of which were built in 1750.

In Pirsogianni we also find the National Museum of Epirotes Masons.

The Vikos-Aoos National Park is one of the areas included in Natura 2000 network and since 2005 in the National Park of Northern Pindos. The Park is distributed between the municipalities of Konitsa, Central Zagoria and Timfi, as well as the Papigo community. Its total area reaches 13.000 hectares and includes the Aoos ravine to the north, the Vikos and Voidomatis gorges to the south, as well as a large section of the Timfi mountain range.

Nature lovers and alternative activities enthusiasts will find their paradise on earth, in Konitsa. Hiking, climbing, and all sorts of mountain and river activities are automatically connected with the town's name, because in addition to being a town of historical significance, in recent years it has evolved to an unofficial "capital" of alternative touristic activities in the Prefecture of Ioannina.