THE MONASTERY OF VENERABLE LUKAS By Spyros Tsitsigkos, ThD.

The Monastery of Venerable Lukas is set in a charming landscape in a remote valley of Boeotia. It is said that the <catholikon> of Venerable Lukas was, after St. Sophia of Constantinople, the most beautiful church. Founder (945 A.D.) and first Abbot of the monastery was Venerable Lukas in person (896-953 A.D.). It was the Saint's desire that the church of monastery be dedicated, as it was, in honor of St. Barbara. The monastery of Venerable Lukas had close ties with the Imperial Court and with the art of Byzantium. Architecturally, the Church belongs to the octagonal type. The exterior of the buiding does not present us with anything out of the ordinary. But the decoration of the interior has been executed with scholastic care. The beautiful iconostasis is marble. With large circular rodakes, filled with mosaic decoration and with large plaques of different colors, a cross is formed on the floor of the Church. The walls are covered with beautiful marbles which match both in color and texture and yet are rich in variations. Every part of the Church's decoration (Birth, Presentation, Baptism, Washing, Crucifixion, Resurrection, The Doubting of St. Thomas, Pentecost, Virgin Mary etc.) is found on the adapted place theologically, and has a symbolic significance. Joined to the great Church of Venerable Lukas at the North end, one finds the Church of the Virgin (Panagia) which, like the main Church, was built in the 11th century. The Church is built in a typical cruciform pattern, and more exactly, with a dome supported on four freestanding pillars. Between the south wall of the Church of Venerable Lukas and the old but now restored refectory, we find the entrance (Crypt) to the Church of St. Barbara. It is a subterranean apartment covered with cruciform domes in the shape of a four-pillar Church. In the end, at the northern pier one finds the tomb of the Saint Lukas.  Holy Monastery of Venerable Lukas of Boeotia, Steiri - Leivadia.  0267-22228.

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