The monastery of Agia Lavra was built in 961 AD, on Helmos Mountain, at an altitude of 961 meters, and can be described as the birth-place of modern Greece, and her national regeneration a Hellenic shrine. It stands as one of the oldest monasteries in the Peloponnese, the pride of the Kalavryta region.
It was built in 10th century but was burnt to the ground in 1585 by the Turks. It was rebuilt in 1600 while the frescoes by Anthimos were completed in 1645. It was burnt again in 1715 and in 1826 by the armies of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt. In 1850 after the rebirth of modern Greece, the building was completely rebuilt.
It is one of the most important historical sites of Greece, since it was here that the call for Eleftheria I Thanatos (Ελευθερία ή θάνατος) was first heard on 25 March 1821, launching the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. The revolutionary flag was raised by Bishop Germanos of Patras, under the historic plane tree just outside the gate of the monastery.
To this day, the vestments of Germanos, documents, books, icons, the Gospel of Czarin Katherine II of Russia, sacred vessels, crosses, etc are preserved in the Monastery, along with the Holy relics of St Alexios, given by Byzantine emperor Manuel Palaeologus in 1398. Pieces of embroidery, made with gold or silver threads woven in pure silk materials in Smyrna and Constantinople, are also possesions of the Monastery and they date from 16th century.
On the hill opposite, a monument to the heroes of the Revolution of 1821 looks down upon the monastery.
Agia Lavra is located in the city of Kalavryta, Achaia prefecture.
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