Zante Zakynthos Villages - Anafonitria
Anafonitria is a small village in the north of the island that gets its name from the 14th Century Monastery situated here - the oldest monastery on Zante.
The patron Saint of the island, St Dionysios, took refuge and spent the last few years of his life in this monastery. Legend states that St Dionysios heard a murderer's confession and he gave the man pardon without knowing that the victim killed was his own brother. To help the murderer, Saint Dionysios also told the only lie of his life, as when questioned by the police he denied ever having seen the man. Although Saint Dionysios was attributed with many healing powers which led to his canonization, the action of forgiving the man who murdered his brother was his most personal compassionate act. Many of the Saints possessions are housed in the monastery, a place of pilgrimage for visitors wishing to pay their respects to the Patron Saint of Zante.
A medieval tower marks the entrance to the monastery. In the past it was a point of defence whereas nowadays it is used as a bell tower. Inside the church are icons brought to Zante from Constantinople, in particular a fine icon of Virgin Mary after which the monastery was named.
This monastery was also home for a while to Agios Gerasimos, the Patron saint of Kefalonia. Agios Gerasimos spent four years at this monastery and was actually the person who baptized Saint Dionysios (the patron saint of Zante). When Saint Gerasimos wanted to return to his homeland, the neighboring island of Kefalonia, he asked for help from the villagers to transport him to Kefalonia. The fishermen refused to assist him and he declared that from that day forward they would never again have a priest for their village. This prophecy has remained true; there has never since been a priest of Anafonitria.
Anafonitria is also near Zante's most famous site - the Shipwreck (Navagio) with a nearby observation point overlooking it, providing stunning cliff and sea views.
Combining visiting the monastery and overlooking the Shipwreck would make for a very enjoyable day out.
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