Church of Agios Arsenios
Few meters away from the monastery of “Christos Dasos” and one km from the butterflies nature reserve, rises the magnificent new church of the great saint of Paros, Agios Arsenios.
Construction began in 1998 and the church was opened in 2003. It is a domed basilica, a variant of the registered crosses, with two bell towers in forefront of the church.
From 1980 plans were being made to erect a new church in honor of Saint Arsenios. It was decided to build it inside the Monastery of Christos sto Dasos, where the saint lived and where his tomb is. The small temple was built above it, by the then Bishop of Paronaxia, Cherouvim Aninos.
The years passed and the year 1990 arrived from Kilkis, as Metropolitan of Paronaxia, the Parian Bishop Amvrosios Stamenas. One of the primary objectives set by the Metropolitan was the erection of new large church of Saint Arsenios. After many adventures, it was decided the new temple had to be erected in the prominent position where it now stands. The work progressed rapidly and was quickly completed thanks to care of the Bishop Amvrosios. Help was given in many ways. First of all, there was financial support from the Holy Church of Ekatontapiliani. Secondly, there was help from the Association of “Saint Arsenios” of Athens and lastly, there were many courageous contributions from the believers.
On 15 September 2002 the opening of this beautiful church took place in in a splendid ceremony by the venerable Metropolitan of Paronaxia Amvrosios, in the presence of many believers.
Today there are two fairs (31 January and 18 August).
Monastery of Christos sto Dasos (Transfiguration)
The monastery lies around 6 kilometers southwest of Parikia. The church is in honor of the Transfiguration of Christ. In the northern part of western external courtyard, the temple of Saint Arsenios was built (1800 – 1877) and there is his tomb. The skull of Saint Arsenios is kept in the monastery.
The building complex was the home of the family of Nikolas Mavrogeni until 1793, when his wife and his children dedicated the temple to Panagia Ekatontapiliani. In 1805 the Monastery was established. Since 1977 it is considered a nunnery.
The establishment and reorganization of the Monastery is due to the efforts of Kyrillos Papadopoulos, Father Superior of the Monastery Saint George (Lagadas Marpissa 1745 – 1833). The monastery is also called Saint Arsenios because he died here on 31 January 1877. He had also served as spiritual father of the nuns as well as father superior of the monastery of Saint George (Lagadas – Marpissa).
The Fortress of Alisafis Family
This legendary fortress looms atop a hill, approximately 500 meters from the Butterflies Nature Reserve. Today it stands in ruins, abandoned by all but some creatures that decide to find shelter there.
The legend has it that during the Ottoman Empire twelve brothers lived in the fortress together with their only sister. Their family name was Alisafis. One autumn afternoon Algerian pirates landed on the western shores of the island: their intention was to abduct the only daughter of the Alisafis family along with all of their wealth.
The brothers held the pirates at bay for several days but finally the pirates decided to cut off the water supply from the spring in the reserve. The brothers, having reached a terrible situation, decided to take their sister’s life themselves rather than have her ravaged by the ruthless pirates. Driven by grief they were determined to go down fighting. They stormed out of the fortress gate to meet their tragic end.
Inside the decrepit fortress there is a marble plaque attesting to its construction.
Bibliography : Nikiforos G Kypraios (” Ta paria”)