The Holy Monastery of the Holy Cross at Doliana of Krania is an exceptional post-byzantine monument of the 18th century. The main church with its 13 domes is the only part of the monument which is saved today. The beautiful church is surrounded by a green forest and is one of the most beautiful sights at Aspropotamos and Greece in general.
The church of the Holy Cross is the main church of the Monastery dedicated to the Holy Belt of the Virgin Mary. There are only some remains of the Monastery to see today. The Monastery is a dependency of the Holy Monastery of St. Stephan at the Holy Meteora.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDING
The church has a peculiar architecture, a fabulous combination of many domes and small circled curves. It is a three-aisled basilica with 3 arches on the eastern side and 3 arches on the left from which the middles are for the choir. The beauty of the church is the external view with 13 domes, something very rare. Some of the domes are only for beauty that is they can not be seen from inside, but only from the outside. The roof is made with stone plates and the church is built with impressive stone blocks.
There are no icon-paintings inside the church, only the natural stone walls. It has a special beauty due to the domes and arches decorating in a magnificant way. A special characteristic of the church of the Holy Cross is the beautifully modelled features of the outside of church, being of a secular style.
In 1943 the church was subject to the German occupation fury causing major destruction. The Monastery of the Virgin Mary’s Belt was completely destroyed. Also the iconostasis of the church of the Holy Cross was burnt completely, while some domes were destroyed.
With much love from the people of the surrounding area, its restoration began in the 1950’s. There exists a signature recording the first restorations by the locals (of Krania and Doliana) with the date 13-9-1956. From 1960-1963 the roof and the central domes were restored. Later the Bishop of the area Seraphim continued the restorations with the Architect Mr. Katsimbinis. During the last decade, the church and the surrounding area have been completely restored by the Monastery of St. Stephan at the Holy Meteora in accordance with the local Archeological department.
THE RUINS OF THE MONASTERY OF THE VIRGIN MARY’S BELT
2oo meters from the church of the Holy Cross, you can find the ruins of the Monastery of the Virgin Mary’s Belt. The Monastery was completely destroyed by the Germans in the second world war. In 1998 archeological excavations took place by the Monastery of St. Stephan at the Holy Meteora with the Architect Mr. Sotirios Tzimas and Ms. Kristallia Mantzana from the local archeological department. Interesting information was discovered on its historical formation.
TIME TABLE OF THE MONASTERY
The Monastery of the Holy Cross is kindly opened by the Monastery of St. Stephan of the Holy Meteora from 10.00 am – 18.00 pm everyday, except Wednesdays from April to October. It also opens on all big religious celebrations, including the week after Ressurection of Jesus Christ.
The Monastery celebrates on the 31st of August, with an all-night Liturgy dedicated to the celebration of the Holy Virgin Mary’s Belt and also on the 14th of September, the celebration of the Holy Cross. There is a vesper service on the 13th and a Divine Liturgy on the morning of the 14th.