Yes I confess: "Jesus among zodiac signs, was the motivation to visit the wonderful Dekoulou monastery with the extraordinary frescoes".
We end up our summer mini road trip at Oitylo after we have driven through the wild mountainous scenery of the middle leg of Peloponnese peninsula, and proud enough οf reaching the southernmost point of mainland Europe, Cape Tainaro.
Thanks to my friend Lukia (An Athenian who abandoned the big city, to live in a small pictersque village called Kelefa) the Laconic Mani is place well known to us.
Towards Dekoulou Monastery
A short distance from the beach of Oitylo I saw a road sign with a strange name "Dekoulou". Loukia, informed us, that the monastery of Dekoulou is another monument of the historical and religious tradition of the place. Having no interest on religious tourism, my friend convinced us to visit the Dekoulou Monastery, saying that the wall paints are incredibly beautiful, especially the dome that depicts Jesus surrounded by the zodiac circle.
After sovereignty of the Turks in Greece, the members of the Hellenized family of Medici resorted to Prastos , Kynouria and later settled in Itilo,Laconia. A prominent descendant of P. Medikos is the doctor George Michalis de Koulos. Michalis de Koulos had four children; the two sons followed the priesthood. The story goes that these two, Daniil and Nikiforos, had travelled to Constantinople to gain permission for the founding of the monastery. The Patriarch gave them permission to dedicate the church to the Zoodochos Pigi and gave it the name Dekoulou. For the founding date of the monastery there are no verified data as books and other documents were stolen by sacrilegious. However, in an inscription it is noted that the Monastery of Dekoulou was renovated in 1765.
Inside the church, you can admire amazing frescoes by the local painters Antonis Dimangelos and Ilias Kouloufakos.
words & photos Sonia Farasopoulou