Monastery of Taxiarches in Mantamados
A small church was built in the 17th century, which was replaced by a larger one in the 18th century. In 1879, a three-aisled basilica was built in the place of the older one. Its interior is decorated with plenty of old icons, including a relief icon of Archangel Taxiarch, dating back to 1766, which is placed in a luxurious receptacle in front of the iconostasis. According to tradition, the icon was made from clay and the blood of the monks who lived in the monastery and were slaughtered by Saracen pirates. The only monk, who survived the massacre, made the icon in honour of Archangel Taxiarch. The icon follows the traditional Byzantine style and inspires awe and reverence with the austere expression of the saint, his large eyes, fearful sword and gilt wings. The monastery keeps also the pontificals of the Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V, who was hung by the Ottomans in 1822 because of the revolt of the Greeks against the Ottoman Empire.
The patronal festival of the monastery is celebrated on the Sunday of the Myrrh-Bearing Women with religious rites and secular events. The culmination of the festival is the custom of sacrificing a calf. The meat is cooked with wheat, a traditional dish called “kiskek”, which is served to worshippers.