Aproximately one kilometre from the historical centre of Kalamata is located the Holy Monastery of St Konstantinos and St Eleni. It is often referred to as the Monastery of the Nuns (“Kalogreon”), an apt name, considering that from its foundation until today it has always been a women’s monastery, with great contribution to the Messenian society.
The Monastery was founded in 1796 by monk and teacher Gerassimos Papadopoulos. Its main church was built above an older one, of the 13th century. In addition to that, the Monastery has another church, dedicated to the Elevation of the Holy Cross.
The Kalogreon Monastery has always been there for the people in need, offering charity and hospitality to the orphans of the war and, in more recent times, providing food and board to those affected by the earthquake of 1986. The Monastery is also known for the fine textiles produced by the nuns, which had begun at a time when silk was being produced here. These handiworks are renowned around the world and they have received many prizes.
On the outskirts of the historical centre of Kalamata, close to the Metropolitan Church of Ypapanti, we find the Monastery of Saints Konstantinos and Eleni, also known as Moni Kalograion. The monastery was created in 1976 by monk and teacher Gerasimos Papadopoulos from Kalamata, and has been ceaselessly operating ever since as a women’s convent which, we should note, is Old Calendarist.
The monastery was built on top of an abandoned 13th century church, as can be seen by the right external side of the altar. From the old church, the fresco depicting the Utmost Humiliation survives in the Prothesis. Its last renovation was after the earthquake of 1986 and the damage it caused. There is a second church in the courtyard of the monastery, dedicated to the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
From its foundation, this monastery has welcomed hundreds of young girls who have wanted to embrace the monastic life, and throughout its history it dedicated its work to helping the weak and the oppressed, helping orphans and victims of earthquake and war, offering shelter and food. Another characteristic of the monastery are the wonderful woven cloths created by the nuns, which they continue to make to this day, using the traditional loom. Lovely tablecloths, curtains, towels, embroidered canonicals, as well as the characteristic scarf of Kalamata, are all woven here and sold in the monastery’s shop. The woven fabrics of the monastery have become known the world over and have received several awards and high praise.
In addition to the loom room and shop, the monastery also has a vestry – museum where various valuable items are housed: canonicals, sacred vessels, invaluable icons, part of the old chancel screen, and the relics of various saints of the orthodox faith; these are only some of the many treasures kept here. There is also a rich library, with theological and other books.