19 MONASTERY OF THE METAMORFOSΙS SOTIROS (MONI SOTIRAKI), ANO ALEPOCHORI Access Chiefly by car via the Athens-Corinth National Road, Megara junction, provincial road from Megara to Alepochori, intersection leading to Ano Alepochori, and then by following the signs to "Kataskinosi Dimou Neas Ionias"
The ruins of the Monastery of the Metamorfosis Sotiros (Transfiguration of the Saviour) are located on the slopes of Mt. Pateras in Ano Alepochori. Preserved structures include the 13th century Katholikon, and the ruins of a group of buildings (monks’ cells, the abbot’s quarters, the refectory [trapeza], and a fountain) dating to the Post-Byzantine period, surrounded by an enclosure. The katholikon (dim. 6.00 x 4.50 m) belongs to the transverse-vault, single nave architectural type (variant A1) not native to Attica. Its masonry is of regular rubble with the use of tiles; the semi-hexagonal sanctuary apse presents a more carefully-finished form of carved porous stone set in the pseudo-isodomic system, with a dentil course beneath the cornice. The glazed plates built into the walls above the window of the sanctuary conch and above and on either side of the window of the south side of the transverse barrel-vault are characteristic. The built templon dates to the 19th century. The church preserves notable painted decoration from the 13th century. Christ Pantokrator is depicted in the apse conch, surrounded by the Archangels Michael and Gabriel; in the semi-circle of the apse are co-officiating prelates; on the lower face of the east wall is a depiction of the Annunciation, above it a scene of the Pentecost, and in the Sanctuary vault, the Ascension. In the nave, the painted decoration is adapted to the classic programme for a cross-in-square domed church. Figures of the Evangelists are on the triangular surfaces created between the transverse and longitudinal barrel vaults. A Christological cycle (no longer preserved) unfolded in the transverse vault. Further east, in the northern part is the Genesis (Birth of Christ), in the southern the Ypapanti (Presentation), in the northwest the Baptism, in the north tympanum the Transfiguration, and in the south the Raising of Lazarus. In the longitudinal vault, there is a depiction in the southwest of the Entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), in the northwest the scene at the Tomb (Women at the Tomb), in the south tympanum the Birth of the Virgin, in the north the Banquet of Herod, while on the west wall is a scene of the Crucifixion. The iconographic programme is complemented by a series of saints of imposing dimensions in the lower zone of the walls. In 1981 and 1999, the monument was seriously damaged by the earthquakes that struck Athens. Stabilization and restoration works began on the katholikon, together with salvage work on the wall paintings, in 2004. The project was supervised the 1st Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, with funding provided by the Leventis Foundation through the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage. The project was concluded in 2006. Text: E. Zagkoudaki