Monastery of Panagia Ypseni
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How to get

Nestled 50 kilometers from Rhodes city, within a forest atop a mountain, lies the serene Panagia Ypseni Monastery. This secluded haven, established in 1855, remains nearly untouched by time.


Far from the bustle of tourist spots, car sirens, and entrance queues, Panagia Ypseni is not your typical attraction. For those drawn to the sacred and believers in the miraculous, this peaceful retreat offers solace, particularly to those seeking relief from emotional or physical ailments.

The site of the current monastery was originally settled during the early Christian period. However, its present form and layout emerged much later. Tradition holds that in 1839, Saint Melitius, born in the nearby town of Lardos, set out to renovate an ancient church on this site. By 1855, he ventured to establish a monastery adjacent to it. This historical account is etched on a stone at the entrance of the local church. What sparked Saint Melitius’s inspiration for such a feat remains a tale untold.

Legend tells of a mystical event where Ossios Meletius stumbled upon a wondrous icon. A heavenly beam directed him to an olive tree’s roots. Digging there, he unearthed the sacred icon of Saint Ypseni. Astonished, Meletius prayed fervently. In that moment, the Holy Virgin Ypseni appeared, urging him to rebuild a monastery in her honor. Without hesitation, he knew it must be done, yet pondered over the financial means.

Following a divine revelation, Ossios Meletios discovered a hidden treasure as directed by the vision of Panagia Ypseni. With these newfound riches, he was able to finance the construction of a monastery. Within its walls is the revered icon unearthed by Meletios, considered the jewel of the sanctuary. Believers affirm that this icon has the power to heal severe illnesses and promote health. Additionally, the holy relics of Saint Meletios are a cherished asset of the monastery.

Within the sacred walls of Panagia Ypseni Monastery in Rhodes, a modest group of approximately 15 nuns lead a spiritual life under the guidance of Mother Mariam. The initial Mother Superior was Eugenia. Established by Metropolitan Amphilochios Tsoukos of New Zealand, the sisterhood includes mostly elder women, with a few younger ones among them. There’s a unique retreat for young girls, initiated in 1996, where they come from across Greece and beyond. They spend two weeks immersed in nature, learning about the lives of saints and nuns, and enjoying recreational activities.

Adult voyagers seek this haven for a respite from city clatter, to soak in the pure, revitalizing aura of the surroundings. Brief visits here are transformed by the warm sunshine, crisp air, lush woods, and the fragrance of blooms into a miraculous rejuvenation.

Monastery’s Name Origin and Key Dates

The term «Ypseni» translates from Greek as «elevation», a nod to the monastery’s hilltop setting. Alternatively, it’s thought to stem from «gypseni», referring to the abundant gypsum found near the structure.

The monastery honors its patron saint during the Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, observed on August 22nd and 23rd. Meanwhile, Melitius is commemorated on February 12th. In the week following Easter, the community gathers for a special service celebrating the Icon of the Holy Virgin of Ypseni. On the following Monday, this sacred icon is taken to Lardos, where a priest brings it into every home. This allows residents the opportunity to pray and receive divine blessings.

Fastest Route to the Monastery

To reach the monastery quickly, head through Lardos village. Look for a signpost at an intersection pointing to the sacred site. Take a left there, pass by several monasteries and churches, and continue as the paved road turns into a dirt path. Soon, the Panagia Ypseni Monastery will come into view. Renting a car is recommended by those who have visited before.


  • Before heading to a sacred place, choose attire that covers your knees, chest, and shoulders. Women might also consider bringing a scarf or shawl.
  • If you’re walking to the monastery, opt for comfortable sandals or sneakers due to the winding and stony path.
  • The nuns are skilled in icon painting and crafting plant-based cosmetics. Don’t miss out on their herbal-scented cream.
  • Travelers often suggest trying the cheese made by nuns at the local abbey, which also makes a great gift for friends and family.
  • Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the beauty of the monastery grounds and the stunning natural landscape of Greece that surrounds it.