Kathara monastery is situated 566 m. above sea
level, 6 klm. away from the homonymous village.
There are two views concerning the construction of a church and a monastery, both
dedicated to Virgin Mary (Panaghia). The first claims that peasants went to the area to
burn ''kathara'', i.e. wild grass and thorns, found Virgin Mary's icon and decided to
build a church there.
The second view related the foundation of
the monastery with the Catholic sect of Kathara. Whichever of the two views is true, it is
a fact that Virgin Mary's church was built in 1696 and the monastery which was built a few
years later was active until the 1980's.
Nowadays no monks live in the
monastery which is open only in summer offering hospitality to the visitors. Virgin Mary's
icon is believed to have been painted by Loukas, the Evangelist.
The church's wooden carved icon screen is also of superb beauty. Until recently another
valuable icon, probably painted by El Greco, was kept in the monastery. The icon is
depicting Jesus on the way to Calvary. This icon is today kept in Aghios Georgios' church,
Panaghia Kathariotissa who is the island's patron saint celebrates on 8th and 14th
September and on Easter Sunday.
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