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One morning of July, we found ourself pious pilgrims, on the nunnery of Taxiarch, near Nenita. It is a nunnery, but nowadays there are only 5 nuns. Time and abandonment have left obvious marks on the temple. The nunnery is known for the holy icon of Taxiarch. This holy icon is related with many miracles according to tradition.

We are seating next to the well at the courtyard, that was dry until another miracle of Taxiarch. Under the dense shade of trees, we hear the words of the priest about the history of the nunnery through the centuries.

"According to testimonies, the nunnery was built at 1305, by nun Kseni, who came from Vassilioniko. In the beginning the nunnery was dedicated to Virgin Mary and had 87 nuns.

It was 1306, when a priest-monk from Pelloponissos, the Parthenios, created a holy icon of Taxiarch, and when he was done he threw it in the sea, and said: "Go where you will". The holy icon passed the entire Aegean, and reached the beach of Thimiana. The fishermen that found Taxiarch, took the holy icon to the new church of the village, and said they should dedicate the temple to Taxiarch. The same night however, the master builder of the temple, saw in his sleep a young man, who was the Taxiarch, and told him he wants to go to the Nenita. The master builder did not took notice. The other night however, he saw again the same dream. The next morning he discussed it with his workers, who laughed at him, and they said that only women believe the dreams. The third night however, he saw the Saint Taxiarch angry, he repeated his wish, and told him that the next morning, something will happen but he won't be hurt. Indeed, the next day, the master builder fell of a scaffolding, without one scratch. This convinced everybody for the divine origin of the dream, and they decided to take the miraculous holy icon to the nunnery at Nenita.

When the master builder saw the third dream, the abbess Kseni, in the nunnery of Virgin Mary at Nenita, she dreamed a young man with shining clothes, and he told her that on the next day he will go his home, and that the nuns should come forth to meet him. The next morning, Kseni with all the nuns of the nunnery, came to the street, outside of the temple to meet the "visitor".

Soon, they saw a crowd approaching from far away. They were citizens of Thimiana who were bringing the holy icon to Nenita, as the Saint ordered. The nuns however, seeing the crowd, were afraid that they might be pirates (back then Saracens were infesting the islands), and they ran to find protecion in the nunnery. But Kseni, stood in her place, and her attitude made the remaining nuns to stand with her. And after a while, they saw that they held in their hands the holy icon of the Taxiarch. Taxiarch finally reached his home.

The nuns put the holy icon on the right side of the iconostasis, besides the holy icon of the Christ, where should be the holy icon of the Saint that the temple is dedicated to. The other day they found the holy icon on the left side in front of the holy icon of Virgin Mary. They put Taxiarch's holy icon again on its place, but this was repeated two more times. The third time, the nuns found the holy icon stuck in the marble step of the iconostasis. They understood that this was the wish of the Saint, and since then the holy icon is found on the left side of the Beautiful Gate, where should be found the holy icon of Virgin Mary.

The nunnery is built in a arid region. The nuns carried water from far with pitchers. Then Kseni brought "pigadarides" to find where was water, and dig a well. They indicated a place where until is the well of the nunnery. Workers came and they began digging for days, but they could not find water. The last day they would work, Kseni asked to go with them down the well. They tied her up with a rope, she took with her one small spud and a holy icon of the Taxiarch and she went down to the bottom of the well. She struck three times with her spud the ground saying "in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit", and a vein of water came out which flooded the well with so much force that could drown her. Since then and until today the well always has water, even when all the other wells of the region go dry.

Every day the last 700 years, even today, at 2 o'clock each noon a paraclesis is prayed to the Taxiarch , in memory of the miracle that gave water to the nunnery.

At the earthquake of 1881, the nunnery had suffered great destructions and 46 nuns died. On the Holy Myrrhbearers Sunday, a great litany is done with procession of the holy icon through the village. The holy icon of the Taxiarch is miraculous, and proves the power of God until today..."

We drank water from the well of the nunnery. It is brackish, but has a flavour of our faith and our history.

Nea Moni  
Moni Taxiarhon  
Saint Markella  
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