Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Ira
Summary: The Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Ira on Lefkada Island is a beautiful and historic religious site with a fascinating history, beautiful gardens, a museum and making handmade products to sell in the monastery shop. The nuns who live there today continue to follow the traditions of the monastery and serve their community through prayer and work.
Details: The Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Ira is located on the island of Lefkada in Greece in the idyllic part of Ira, near the cape of Lefkata. There is some debate over the founding date, some sources suggest shortly after the passage of the relic of Saint Nicholas from Lefkada in 1087 as a place for nuns to live and worship. The monastery was named after Saint Nicholas, who is the patron saint of sailors, and Ira, which means "peace" in Greek. It was then renovated in the 17th century by the Barbarigo family. Historical information is available on this. During the Ottoman occupation of Lefkada in the 18th century, the monastery was abandoned and fell into disrepair. It was later restored in the 19th century by a group of nuns from the island of Corfu. During the occupation, it was one of the few places where the Greek language and culture were preserved, and it became a center of resistance against the Ottoman Empire.
Today, the Monastery of Saint Nicholas of Ira is still an active monastery, with three nuns living there who dedicate their lives to prayer, meditation, and service to others. Visitors are welcome to talk to them and learn about their way of life. The monastery is open daily for visitors, to explore the beautiful gardens, the church, a museum and a small shop where they sell their handmade products.
In the gardens you can admire a variety of fruit trees, herbs and flowers as well as a small pond. The church is a fine example of Venetian architecture with a bell tower and dome. Inside are numerous religious icons and frescoes, as well as the tomb of the monastery's founder. The aged Antonia is the living breath of the monastery and has a spontaneous friendliness,. She will gladly show you around the church, for a donation of course, which she makes unmistakably clear. The younger nuns maintain the infrastructure of the convent with great zeal and passion. We listened with amazement when they told us that they do the concrete work themselves.
Outside the monastery, at the beginning of the car park facing the sea, are the unique former stone beehives, where the honey from the bees, in the lush vegetation did not find abundant thyme.
We bought some wonderful honey here. Not only thyme. Taste the black honey. In addition also some BIO Olive oil from the convent and Olives in jars where the nuns personally and weekly change its water.