On the northwest side of the massif of Larissa which rises at the west of the city of Argos is the ancient monastery of Panagia (Holy Mary). It is called Katakekrimmeni after the old icon of Holy Mary that was found – according to tradition – into the cave just below the temple and is considered a work of art of special artistic value.
The “making” of the icon is impressive, because it is a “double leaf” creation. The left panel depicts Virgin Mary Glykophilousa, while the right panel has the same overlay sheet and the inscription “St. Dimitrios on Neos” (St. Demetrius the Younger) while on a second level (in depth) there are two sculptured forms.
It is also called Portokalousa after an old custom during which the people of the city of Argos threw oranges to honeymoon couples who visited the monastery during the Feast of Eisodia (the Presentation of Virgin Mary) on November 21. This unique custom reminds us of the custom of “milobolia”, where young people were throwing apples to those they loved, to express their hidden feelings. This custom is usually seen among girls, who threw apples from their balcony or courtyard to the fine young men they wanted to marry.
The orientation of the temple is subordinated to that of a steep rock. Apart from the temple, there is the north aisle of the Annunciation. Its large courtyard is dominated by a steeple of 1907 a.d., made of donations, as well as the large neoclassical building, while at the basement of the monastery there are treadmills with ramifications that lead to various venues such as cells, the chapel of Saint Theodosius Koinoviarchou, the monastery’s ossuary, warehouses and tanks. Paleon Patron Germanos became a monk in this monastery, while in the years of the Ottoman domination, it operated as a secret school.
Until 1833 Katakekrymmeni operated as a monastery, when it was decided to close due to the number of its monks (fewer than six). Its assets passed to the state, with the intention to be used for the promotion of the state educational program, as well as for improving the lives of the lower clergy.
Today the monastery is one of the traditional monuments of Argos and regained functional life, having now in leading two twins, the Hieromonks Makarios and Joseph of Argos, who made a lifelong dream to rebuild the monastery.