Monasteries

The monasteries have always had a significant impact on the area. They showed themselves with many ways depending on the personality of the monks; the location; the help given to passersby; the guidance to residents in critical times; their educational efforts; their significance as meeting points for the residents etc.
The monastery of St. John the Forerunner, also known as Vomvokous existed in the area of Nafpaktos from the years of the Turkish rule, perhaps even from before. The whole of the monastery presents architecture, sculpture and painting interest. From the plaque which was salvaged we learn that it was built in 1965 on the foundation of an old church. There is not a lot of evidence concerning the activity and offering of the monastery. In 1833 it was destroyed by order of king Othona. Today 2 nuns serve and take care of the monastery.

On the eastern side of Skala (4 km) there is a modern monasterial community dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ. The monastery was built in 1977 with funds of Nafpaktians from Greece and abroad. The monasterial complex today consists of the church of the Transfiguration of Christ, the retirement home-hospital, the common areas, the cells of the monks, the guest house and the conference hall. The brotherhood of the monastery grows constantly and today there are over 25 monks who live there communally.

The monastery of Panagia Gorgoepikoou is right after Ska gorge at Dendro, Nafpaktos founded in 1951 by archimandrite Arsenios Koubougias. It is a real hermitage with an important social and religious work. Today 12 nuns serve at various services of the monastery.
Μονή-ΑμπελακιώτισσαςThe active male monastery of Panagia Ambelakiotissa with a history of centuries is said to have been built in 1456 A.D. and is considered the Ark of Nafpaktia as it stores priceless heirlooms such as the icon of the Virgin Mary, the right hand of St. Polykarpos, the epitaph of Mariora (1735) the evaluated wood sculpture temple altar (1871-1874), silver reliquary (1470) etc. The quaint catholic with the decorative stone reliefs was built in 1847. The second is the parish church St. Nicholaos. It was remodelled in 1744. In 1880 the church was extended west and the loft for women was added.
The wooden sculpture temple altar is of exceptional technique and it was made in 1748 by the local artist Athanasio (Damiano).
In the prefecture of Dorida, about 25km from Nafpaktos there is the historical monastery of Varnakova. The monastery is found among a majestic, peaceful and panoramic landscape full of vegetation and tall trees. Varnakova Monastery is one of the oldest in Greece. It was founded in 1077 by St. Arsenio the Vernikoviti. The Byzantine Empires Komnini as well as the bishops of Despotate of Epirus Komnini and Palaiologi connected their names to the monastery through a series of dedications.
In the emancipation struggle of the nation the monastery offered invaluable services. The monastery was destroyed by Kioutachis 1826 but Ioannis Kapodistrias rebuilt it in 1831. Recently radical renovation has started with the presence of an organized and active woman’s sisterhood of nuns.