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Neophytos Doukas, the monastery of the Annunciation and a nun.
We arrived at Ano Pedina planning to visit the very special Monastery of the Annunciation, which at that day had a feast because of the celebration of 25 March. Another monastery on my list, I thought. I didn’t know the history lesson that were about to come next.
When entering the small monastery, which is at the entrance to the village Ano Pedina, I smiled because the little yard was filled with flowers and the garden was well-tended. Woman's work, I thought. We were welcomed by a nun indeed, whose name I don’t remember of course. She told us many things about the monastery, the small church which is considered as a monument by the Archaeological Service and about Neophytos Doukas. Neophytos Doukas? Who is this, I wondered. That’s how you end up when you don’t know your own history. You miss some very important bits about the past, the present and the future.
So, Neophytos Doukas was one of the major teachers of Greek genus and a participant of the so-called Greek Enlightenment. He was born in Ano Pedina and lived at the monastery of Annunciation from 10 to 18 years old. The nun told us a little story: One day the abbot sent the young Neophytos to shepherd the sheep and as he was very studious he sat at slop and opened the book and when he closed it the sheep were gone and the abbot scolded him for carelessness. He never thought that this man would become a scholar, who would have received an invitation from Ioannis Kapodistrias to return to Greece and to contribute to the Greek enlightenment.
Before returning to Greece, he crossed by Vienna and Boukouresti, where he was studying, teaching and writing endlessly. They say that his teaching was so nice that within six months his students increased from 60 to 400. You should know that Zagorochoria was top in education during the Turkish occupation, that’s why many scholars came out of this region.
Back at the monastery, you will admire the small church, which was once operated by Neophytos Dukas and you will stand in awe in front of its decorations and wall paintings which reminded me of fresco painting. When you get in, if you turn left and reach the last dome, you will see Aristotle, Plato, Solon and Plutarch, because, as the nun told us the orthodox church recognises them as prophets since they rejected polytheism and talked about a global power that creates the world.
Finally I would like to tell you that we were lucky, because we had the opportunity to get into the Old school of Ano Pedina, where rests a big collection of old books (check photos) on politics, philosophy, geography, culture, maybe once hold my Neofytos Doykas or written by him, that I am sure not everyone is aware of. Try to visit it when you get there.
About the Author
Hey i am Athena and this is my slogan “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag. I am the creator of Alternatrips.gr, a Greece Travel Guide made by locals. Together with nearly 100 local-ambassadors we are trying to make up a guide with the best places you can visit in Greece. Follow us and enjoy!