CONVENT OF ST. ANDREW THE APOSTLE OF MILAPIDIA
& ECCLESIASTICAL MUSEUM
This Convent was found during the Byzantine era. Since 1264, in
the proceedings of the Latin Diocese of Cephalonia, it is referred
to as a Monastery. In the following centuries the Monastery was
deserted and it was reestablished in 1579, when three spiritual
sisters Benedictine, Leondia and Magdalene, originating from the
first capital of Cephalonia - the Middle Age Municipality of Kastro-
, bought the land where the ruined chapel in the name of Apostle
Andrew preexisted, aiming to lead a monastic life.
after it became a Convent and in 1639 the Greek Romanian Princess
Roxane, renamed nun Romilia, daughter of Protospathario leader of
Moldovlachia Zotos Tsigaras and grandaughter of sovereign of Moldovlachia
Peter Voevodas, started her monastic life.
Apart from her large wealth, money and real estate, she bestowed
upon the Convent a valuable spiritual treasure from Mt. Athos, the
Holy remains of the right foot (sole) of Apostle Andrew. The sole,
wholly dislocated from the ankle, bears on it the ordinary flesh
of the Saint, his dried blood together with the hole from the nail
of his crucifixion. Its fragrance is characteristic and very intense.
Visitors can also tour the Ecclesiastical Museum founded in 1988
by the Most Rev. Spyridon, the present Metropolitan of the island,
which is located in the old Katholikon of the Convent that was preserved
from the disastrous earthquake in 1953. In the first room there
are walls covered with frescoes of the Church of the Taxiarchis'
Monastery in Milapidia. The shroud of the Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory
V, St. Nectarios' epitrachilion and the shirt of St. Panagis (priest
Bassia) are on display.
central part of the church is kept intact. The temple with superb
icons is a piece of work dated back to the 17th century. The panels
from the iconostasis (templon) with themes from Christ 's Sacrifice
are works of the priest Theodoros Poulakis, while the side doors
of the templon which represent the three hierarchs are works of
Deacon Athanasios Anninos. Until the 1953 earthquake the frescoes
were covered with asbestos since in 1832 the divine services were
temporary interrupted by the British. Their aim was to establish
a protestant school within the church and to damage this Greek Orthodox
Center because of its negative attitude towards British rule.
The construction of the building was followed by cleaning-up and
conservation work. Treasures of the Convent and icons from the Archiepiscopate
of Cephalonia are displayed in the north narthex. Among them, the
portrait of the Tsigara couple and their daughter Nun Romila.
In a nearby pane five of her superb handmade ecclesiastical embroideries
of excellent artwork are kept close to the panels. Another display
holds the hieratic sceptre and the Communion Cup of his Holiness
Nikodemos V' Metaxas Archbishop of Cephalonia, an important figure
of the 17th century who founded the first Greek printing press in
Constantinople. Two hand written letters of St. Kosmas the Aetolian
dated in 1777 are also kept in the Museum.
of the most important exhibits in the Museum is the Hieratic vestment
known as sakkos (short tunic with wide half sleeves) embroidered
by the Nun Theodora Kanali from the village of Metaxata in the period
between 1715 and 1721 with the themes of "Christ the Vine"
on the front and the Virgin "Tree of Jesse" at the back.
The Convent celebrates twice a year: on November 30th, feast day
of Saint Andrew and on Friday after Easter, feast day of Zoodochos
Pege who is the second patron of the Convent. The Episcopical divine
service is followed by an honorable procession of Saint Andrew's
relic and the miraculous icon of Virgin Zoodochos Pege(dated back
to 1560 along with the icon of "Virgin the Milapidiotissa"
(dated back to the 11th century) and the other miraculous Saints'
relics of the Convent, up to the chapel of Saint Nicholas of the
Scardabeli family. After that, a meal prepared with special care
by the nuns is offered.
smaller celebration takes place on August 15th (the Dormition of
the Virgin) with the participation of Cypriot brothers. On this
day the blessings to the Dormition of Theotokos are solemnly sung
in front of the elegant and beautiful cenotaph of Theotokos followed
by a procession of this unique, flower decorated cenotaph.
The Convent includes the following chapels:
B) Saint Nicolas of the Scardabeli family
C) Saint Catherine & Saint Paraskevi and
D) Virgin Eleousa "Axion Esti"
Where small celebrations take place in the memory of the Saints.
Solemn vigils are performed continuously and the Convent follows
the rituals of Mount Athos. Holy Mass takes place every Sunday as
well as on important celebrations and quite often vigils take place.
The nuns engage in knitting bishops' officiating robes, agiography,
handcrafts, hospitality, agriculture and gardening. The Convent
includes an operational laboratory for the preservation of the portable
icons. For many years the Convent engaged in philanthropic and missionary
activities amidst difficult times. Christ's love and forgiveness
are mirrored on the faces of every member of the sisterhood who
constituteattractive role models for every hard working Christian.
Visits to the Convent are daily from 7.00am to 14.00pm and from
17.00pm to 21.00pm
Additional information can be obtained from:
Holy Nun Andrianne
Mother Superior of the Convent of St. Andrew the Apostle of Milapidia
28100 Peratata Cephalonia
Tel : 0671 0 69398
For information concerning the Museum contact: the Director,
Mr. Constantine Staveris tel. 0671 0 69700
*Milapidia is the name of the Convent locale, owed to a unique
tree that grows in the area as a result of cross-grafting apple
-"milo" - and pear -"apidi" - trees.The titurial
icon of the Holy Virgin was found under such a tree.