CHURCHES - MONASTERIES
The village cathedral is the church of Agii Anargyri (St. Anargyri), whereas glorious is the cavernous church of Ai- Giannaki (St. John) in Poros, which has splendid hagiographies dating back to the 11th & 13th century.
In the village of Goritsa one can visit: a) The church of Taxiarches situated in the area of Zaneika. The church has cruciform style roofing, with Byzantine decorations, which is dated back to the end of the 13th century, b) the church of Agiou Ioannou tou Prodromou (St. John the Baptist), which is a single aisle church, again with cruciform style roofing, and a wall painting (fresco) Holly Altar.
The region features a tremendous variety of churches many of which have remarkable wall-painting (frescos) of Byzantine or post-Byzantine periods. Situated in the village are the churches of Agiou Dimitriou (Saint Dimitrios), Koimiseos tis Theotokou and of Agiou Nikolaou (Saint Nikolaos). On the south of the village there is the church of Panagia I Xrisafitissa (Madonna of Chrysafa) dating back to 1293. Near this church you can also find the beautiful Byzantine church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos (St John the Baptist).
Near the village of Kalloni you can find a church dedicated to Agio Nikolao (St. Nikolaos). The repairs that have been undertaken in recent times have altered somewhat the main construction, nevertheless the church maintains even today various elements of the Byzantine period.
There are numerous chapels that can be visited in the area. In the village main square you can find the church of Zoodochou Pigi, which celebrates after Easter and on the 20th of July.
The Patron Saint of the village is Agios Nikolaos (St Nikolaos). The construction of the church begun in 1888 and was inaugurated on the 26/12/1914 from the Bishop of Monembasias and Lakedaimonos Germanos, Trianos. It must be noted that the church contains intact the Sacred Table of a small church that stood in the same place before the foundation of Agios Nikolaos.
The church of Ypapanti is a single aisle, twin roof church, with impressive plaster decorations and a wood carved iconostasis. On the fifth floor of the steeple there is a bell with the inscription šANNO DOMINI 1830 GRAFFITIš.
Monastery of Agii Tesserakonta Martyres
On the road to Chrysafa and about eight kilometers outside Sparti, on an altitude of 400 meters northeast there is the monastery of Agii Tesserakonta Martyres. It was first founded on the 13th century on the mountain of Stamatira (within the of Sofroni) and today only a small chapel remains within a cave where the hagiography bares the signature of the painter Constantine Manasi. Because of the difficult weather conditions as well as various enemy attacks the monks moved into the current new position and build the monastery in 1615. With time an entire monastery center was constructed with the full cooperation and support of the local population who contributed for the erection of the new buildings.
During the difficult years a "hidden school" operated inside the chapel of Zoodochou Pigis. In 1770 the chapel was blown up. Before the revolution of 1821 the monastery was full of life and it's wealth was substantial, enough to employ numerous workers for the agricultural activities of the monastery. The money that was gathered from those activities was often used as prisoners' ransom payment and as a result after the end of the revolution the monastery ended up in financial despair.
Theodoros Kolokotronis (the head of the revolution and generally believed the father of the new nation) with a letter to the head of the monastery thanked the monks for their support and their contribution to the fight of independence from the Turks.
The wall paintings that are preserved till today (after the destruction of 1770) were re-painted by the Crete priest and hagiographer Georgio Kalliteraki following the commission of Paisios Zaxaropoulou.
The folklore art gave the temple of the convent in the beginnings of the 19th century. In 1980 the framed painting of the Agion Tesserakoston Martyron, which is dated back to the 13th century, was stolen. Today in the convent are kept various heirlooms and letters, one of which is the letter (a copy to be precise) describing all the privileges of the monastery (which were the main reason why all nearby monasteries wanted to be incorporated with the monastery of Agion Tesserakonta Martyron). Also 82 handwriten documents exist in the the historical registry of Sparti as well as various older books.
The main chapel of the monastery (the Katholic) is a cross like church with a cupola and honors the memory of the Agion Tessarakonta Martyron (Saint Tessarakonta Martyrs). The monks in the monastery are mainly occupied with hagiography and agriculture. The main chapel of the monastery (the Katholic) is structured like a cruciform with a dome (just like Agioritika) and honors the memory of the fallen on the lake Sebastias Tessarakonta Martyron. In addition there are several holly relics of several Saints. The monks nowadays are occupied with agriculture and hagiography.
There are guestrooms in the convent for the convenience of the visitors. Quite recently with the supervision of the Committee of Byzantine Antiques and with the complete support of the Organization for the Employment of the Work Force, parts of the monastery have been preserved and restored.
The monastery hosts the student camping associations of the Ieras Mitropolis Monambasias and Spartis. It is indeed worthwhile to attend one of the liturgies in the monastery. Days of festivity are the 9th of May (Zoodochou Pigis) and the 9th of November (St Nektarios).