In an enchanting environment, on the way to Lyhnos and quite close to Ypati, we come across the Agathonos Holy Monastery, at an altitude of 553 metres on the slopes of Mount “Oiti”. Built in the 14th-15th century, it is a typical example of Byzantine style.
Verbal tradition reports that the old Monastery, where Saint Agathonas practiced which was located on the border of the neighbouring villages of Lyhnos and Kastania subsided and the icon of the Virgin Mary disappeared, and was later found in a lush cave, and there, close to its current location, Osios built the monastery in the 14th to 15th century. Even today, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, and especially those of nearby Lyhno, talk about the existence of a monastery “in the old days” in the southwestern part of the village in a nearby location, called “Paliomonastero”. In this monastery, according to tradition, the monk Agathonas practiced here, although when, remains unknown.
The Monastery after the death of the Saint was named Agathon Monastery by the monks. Following the destruction by occasional raiders in the area of Ypati, Agathonas Holy Monastery suffered damage, the worst being in 1822 from Dramalis, who burned the Catholic Church.
G. Lambrakis was the first historical researcher of the Agathon Monastery, who placed the Catholic Church in the 15th or 16th century. The majestic Catholic Athonian type stood out (cross-shaped dome, a combined four-columned chapel with four chapels built within it), dating back to the middle of the 16th or the end of the 17th century. Today very few wall paintings have been recovered due to deterioration over time and the manic destruction of Dramalis, who burned the Catholic Church (1822). They say that the icon of the Virgin Mary Agathonas (of Hodegetria style meaning “she who shows the way” covered with an artistic silver overlay) is miraculous.
In the Catholic church, in the chapels and other parts of the monastery there are many inscriptions referring to the renovations of the site or to the reconstruction of the buildings, such as that of the bell tower: “THIS BELL TOWER WAS BUILT AND THE EXPENSES WERE PAID BY MR. KON. KOUTIA AND HIS BROTHERS G. ANA. ATH. IO. SP. AIK. KOUTREI WHEN HE WAS THE ABBOT ALIPIOS X GEORGIOS AND ADVISORS AKAKIOS FILIPPOS KO. X ON the 3rd of March 1859”.
Many precious heirlooms and rare, valuable remains have been rescued and are in the Monastery. There are many sacred and interesting heirlooms, which exist today in the Monastery museum. Dozens of crosses, holy vessels, tabernacles, holy remains, sacred icons, vestments, scripts, books, were collected from temples and destroyed monasteries of the region by the Abbot Germanos Dimakos and thus rescued from the ancient anarchists.
The oldest book of the library is a work of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, of 1551. It is a donation from the Bishop of Zitouniou, Philotheou to the Monastery. In many functional books of the Monastery there are interesting remembrances of Abbots and Monks, which have a great historical value for the life of the Monastery and the surrounding villages.
The monastery's offerings during the 1821 Revolution were of substantial contribution. For the success of the struggle, the monastery also volunteered its own monks, who were assembled with the fighters of Patratzikiotis and chieftain Mitsos Kontoyiannis. There were regular gatherings of militants of the Revolution in the monastery.
For decades, the abbot of the Monastery was the Archimandrite Germanos Dimakos, the legendary fighter of the National Resistance, “Papa-Anypomonos” (Impatient) and close associate of Aris Velouhiotis. The late Father Germanos (George in person) Dimakos was born in 1912 in the village of Agridiou Vytina, Gortynia and was ordained a deacon in 1934. He was the military priest of the ELAS General Headquarters, a post from which he gave courage to his comrades and fought the Germans.
A restless spirit, at a critical time climbed the mountain, next to Aris Velouhiotis. Then, in the churches, the Papa-Anypomonos swore the rebels in on the gospel.
After the liberation of the country, German Dimakos settled in Agathonos Monastery. His work there was huge. Hundreds of believers from across the country rushed to the monastery to talk to him. Others went to be relieved of their human weaknesses and others to converse with the “Papa-Anypomonos” of the Resistance.
In 2000, the Church of Greece awarded him, at Archbishop Christodoulos's suggestion, for his efforts in the resistance. He passed away peacefully at a ripe old age of natural causes on Wednesday, the 9th of June, 2004.
Today on the site of the Holy Monastery, but also in the surrounding areas, the visitor has the pleasure not only to enjoy nature but also to experience intense religious feelings and appreciate the effort, which took place over the course of time for the protection and preservation of the National Conscience.
The visitor has the opportunity to admire the unique habitat with peacocks, pheasants, partridges, ducks and various species of birds. Also to see deer, pheasants, wild sheep and partridges in an enclosed area of 1,200 acres, this is also the breeding centre of Agathonas Holy Monastery.
There is also an opportunity to visit the Natural History Museum in the halls where the majority of species of fauna and flora of Oiti National Park are exhibited.
From time to time, the monastery taught pastoral, agricultural and forestry studies. Nowadays there is a prey breeding ground and a National History museum of Oiti (1953). It celebrates on the 6th and 15th of August.