Monasteries of Greece
Sanders, Glenn E., Journal of Church and State
Monasteries of Greece. By Chris Hellier. London: I.B. Tauris, 1996. 224 pp. $50.00.
Based on Hellier's extensive travels, Monasteries of Greece surveys the origin, history, aesthetic quality, and current state of monasteries in Greece. After a brief introduction to the phenomenon of monasticism in late antiquity, Hellier traces the fate of mainland and island monasteries under Byzantine, Turkish, and Greek national rule to the "reforms" of the mid-nineteenth century. He then focuses on select monasteries for nearly the remainder of the book, including Saint John's at Patmos, Ossios Loukas in Phocis, Daphni in Attica, and Mistra in the Peloponnese. He traces their histories, describes their important physical and artistic features, and mentions key nineteenthand twentieth-century developments. Hellier dedicates fully a third of the entire text to the monasteries of Mount Athos, a unique and important site for Eastern as well as Greek Orthodoxy. A separate chapter treats the unusual foundations among the rock spires of central Thessaly. He concludes with a short consideration of monastic revival and the fate of the monasteries. …