Since the 10th century, monks have lived at the Hosios Loukas Monastery in Distomo in central Greece, where they make a living by farming the land and selling souvenirs to pilgrims, who eagerly visit the crypt of St. Luke the Younger, the monastery’s founder.
A hermit, Luke of Steiris founded the monastery in the mid-10th century. He was celebrated for performing many miracles and, in particular, correctly prophesying the conquest of Crete by Emperor Romanos.
A Greek Wonder
The walled monastery of Hosios Loukas is one of the most important examples of Middle Byzantine art and architecture. The complex, as it stands today, is from the 11th century.
The main church was damaged during the Greek War of Independence (1821), but in a strange way, this was fortuitous. A subsequent 20th-century restoration not only repaired the damage but also ensured that the church was sympathetic to Byzantine design by removing newer additions.
The square layout of Hosios Loukas consists of an octagonal central space surrounded by chapels and galleries.
The church walls are made of a mixture of brick, stone, and marble called “opus mixtum.” At first glance, Arabic script adorns the walls, but the script is actually Pseudo-Kufic, a false Arabic script used for decorative purposes.