On the slopes of Mount Geraneia, Osios Patapios monastery stands imposingly for centures.
Situated at a 650m – 700m altitude, the holy convent challenges the faithful Christians to go on a pilgrimage, which requires driving a 14-kilometre distance and successfully walking up the 180 steep steps before entrance.
Osios Patapios came from Thebes, Egypt. He cloistered at the Egyptian desert during the 4th or 5th century a.d. At that period, he became so popular with Christians, that crowds of believers passed by to meet him. In order to gain peacefulness and privacy again, he moved to Constantinople, where he continued his monastic life at the region of Vlaherna and later on, at the Ioannis Prodromos Holy Momastery of Egypt, which he had founded.
The monk soon became well known because of his sanctity and his miracles. Osios Patapios passed away in his monastery, on December 8th. After the destruction of the monastery another monk transferred the holy relic to Saint John of Petra Monastery, which was under the auspices of the Palaiologos imperial family at that time.
After the Fall of Constaninople and in order to protect Osios Patapios’s holy relics against vandals, Aggelis Notaras – a Palaiologos’s family relative and Agios Gerasimos of Kefallonia’s grandfather – carried them to Mount Geraneia and hid them inside a cave. In 1904, during excavation procedures by the cave, the Osios Patapios’s relics where accidentally found. They were intact! A few years later, the Osios Patapios Monastery was built.
The entire roof of the cave is full of candles and other dedications in honour of the saint, expressions of gratitude for a miracle… Dressed in a monk’s clothes, the shrine of the holy relic lies there, deeper in the cave. Many people believe that the dent on the ground in front of the shrine was formed by the constant kneeling of pilgrims. The surrounding area entails a big yard with a spring, whereas the view from up there is utterly awesome. There is also an exhibition room where religious talismans, icons and books are shown. Feasts take place twice a year; on December 8th and on the third day after Easter.