#117 Monastery of Dichouni

Location

On the banks of a tributary of Kalama, dominates from 1763, the historic monastery Dichouniou.

 

Construction Data

The monastery is a basilica with a dome and consists of the vestibule, the nave and the sanctuary. The few openings in the building allow only a few rays of light to enter, creating a solemn atmosphere. Inside, there is a plurarity of murals from the 18th century, but few of them have survived in good condition.


Historical Data

Various sources refer to the naming of the monastery. According to them, at the location two canyons unite while another version of the name is due to the location Di Chouni which in Arvanite means "two sticks". The classification may be justified from the fact that in the Monastery two towers stood out.

The monastery was reportedly built on the site of an older monastery, which was destroyed after the unfortunate revolution of 1611. The date was meant to stigmatize not only Dichouni, but also the wider region of Epirus, since that's when the revolution of Dionysios the Philosophebroke out, which ended ingloriously with tragic losses for the rebels.

Dionysius Philosophos or Skylosophos was born in 1541, in Paramithia. He arrived at Dichouniou monastery early and there he learnd to read and write. Then he went successively to Venice and Padua, where he studied in the fields of Philosophy, Literature and Medicine. Returning to Greece in 1593, he was designated bishop of Larissa and Triki. The Fiery Bishop tries three times to turn against the Turks. The first in Thessaly in 1600, the second in Thesprotia in 1604 and the last one,which apart from the unfortunate outcome led to a painful death. The Revolution of 1611 began on September 7, with the base being Dichouniou monastery. The rebels were less than 1000, and the means available primitive. On the night of September 10 they invaded Ioannina and had they not met the resistance of christian landowners, they would have captured it. The events that followed were painful both for himself and for his companions. The Turks located him in a cave below the mosque of Aslan Pasha, after he was betrayed by the Jews of the area. Dionysius Philosopher found an agonizing death, being skinned by the Turks in the central square of Ioannina. The efforts of the Bishop weren't welcomed, neither from the official clergy nor the West. It is significant that after the first unfortunate attempt, the Patriarchate deposed him from bishop of Larissa and Triki.

The Dichouniou monastery was a wealthy monastery, that reportedly had 25 shares, but which after 1611 had an inglorious end. The rescued monastery includes the ledger, the abbot, guesthouse, storage and bell tower, which is a later addition.

 

Additional information of historical, cultural and tourism interest

The area of Zitsa consists of two counties with various environmental and cultural characteristics which makes it interesting as a whole. Beautiful villages exist in almost all the territory of the municipality, which are impressive both for their architecture and urban organization, and also for the activity they have shown throughout the course of their history.

Zitsa has linked its name with its winery and its production of famous wines with a Protected Designation of Origin. Famous wineries, but smaller producers, members of the local cooperative, supplying almost all of the world's with their renowned wines.

In Zitsa the "Vadokeios Library" can be found, which houses over 3,000 books. Moreover in Zitsa we encounter another culture birthplace, the gallery prints, while near the church of St. Nicholas Folklore a museum is open with exhibits that reveal the lifestyle of residents and artistic subtlety of local artists.

South of Zitsa, the village Karitsa exists with an elevation of 580 m. The village is 24 km. from Ioannina. This is one of the most historic villages.

At Lithinos one of the two natural stone bridges of Kalamas exist, the Theogefyro, derived from erosion of rock. Opposite Lithinos is the monastery of Fathers, founded in 1590 and is dedicated to the Assumption.

Within them are the central church of Protopapas, St. Nicholas stands, built in 1808 with the financial support of the villagers and Mukhtar, son of Ali Pasha.

The village Rajko was the historic passage of Kalamas, known for its old bridge, which fell in 1902. Today, some remnants of the Turkish outpost of the bridge exist.

The historic village of Klimatia with origins from ancient times and lead of the municipality of Evrimenon refers to Chrisovoulo (1321) by Andronikos Palaiologos. Near the church of the Virgin Mary, between the river, the village and the pit skinny, there are traces of an ancient castle, at the "Greek Litharia." On top of a small hill northwest of the village is the old monastery of the Transformation of the Savior Veltsistas.

In Paliouri, an old bridge is saved, which dates from 1835 and is located on the River Smolitsa. Also of interest are the churches of Agia Paraskevi, Agios Nikolaos, Agios Panteleimon and St. George. Below the village we find the historic Paliouri monastery, dedicated to the Nativity of the Theotokos and known for its big festival, which takes place on September 8th.

Kourenta is built on the back of St George over Korakolakkos in a magnificent location, which previously was overgrown by vines.

At an altitude of 770m. In the west of the peak Kasidiari is the village Aetopetra or "Kosoliani" as it is known to the eldest. A passage of great archaeological interest, since the discovery of tombs, ancient coins with the inscription "Apeirotan 'and pottery.

The Vlachatano has four beautiful churches, the town of St. George, St. John, Prophet Elijah and St. Paraskevi, built in 1628 and historiated in 1706.

East of the village Rodotopi, at the foot of the Castri Gardikiou hill, there is one of the most important archaeological sites in the region of Epirus, the Temple of Zeus, which dates from the 4th century BC. The temple was an official sanctuary of the Molossians.

At the western end of Eleousas is the old church of the monastery of St. George, which dates from 1778.