Inside the historical landscape of Mani, near the foothills of Mount Taygetos, is the Ieron Kathisma of the Transfiguration of the Savior. Being a place of worship, faith, brotherhood and love, both to the fellow man and to the creation of the Most High, it is a refuge and a pilgrimage for every person, be that an Orthodox faithful or not, who visits western Mani.
The brotherhood of the Ieron Kathisma is made up of four fathers, the elder Gabriel Koviliatis, the hieromonk Nektarios, as well as the monks Alexios and Silouanos, all of whom pray for the salvation of our souls, while at the same time with their catechism they contribute to the knowledge and the awareness of the truths of the Orthodox Faith.
The Ieron Kathisma also earns the title of “The Ark of Mani” as it preserves and cultivates rare and endangered plant seeds, collects various varieties of olives of our land and the Mediterranean and also helps keep the endangered species of Maniatikos donkey and the Skyrian horse alive.
Important events have taken place in the Ieron Kathisma, with the presence of prominent personalities of the arts such as Mariza Koch, the Orthodox community, with the visits of, inter alia, the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymous, but also of active citizens in the struggle to preserve the environment, with the aim of enhancing the spectacular and laborious struggle of the Fathers of the Ieron Kathisma. For this great effort, Elder Gabriel Koviliatis was honored at the Acropolis Museum with the “Ecopolis Life Project” award, by Ecocity.
Moreover, their catechism works resonate throughout Greece and abroad through the radio station of the Piraeus Church and thus it is accessible even to people who are unable to visit the Ieron Kathisma and become members of the Divine Eucharist and thereafter catechism.
It is worth mentioning that the monastic community is always close to people experiencing psychological or physical difficulties, particularly mournful parents, children with special needs, while with its support it revives their hope and strengthens their struggle on the path they are called to walk each and every day of their lives.
Elder Gabriel Koviliatis
‘Beauty will save the world’, a phrase by Theodore Dostoevsky, which was a starting point and afterwards a way of life for the elder Gabriel Koviliadis, otherwise known as Philippos Adonis Giannopoulos. In a spirit of philosophy, with love and devotion to his fellow man, Mr. Giannopoulos was a bright star whose light of knowledge worshiped Romiosyni and the richness of the Greek culture, both in the face of Europe and in the rest of the world, always praising the morality of Orthodoxy within its historical timeline.
Born in Kalamata in 1940, and intimated from an inner desire for ministry towards his fellow human beings, and inspired by his aunt and godmather Antigoni Dizis, a brilliant personality of morality and education, Philippos Giannopoulos begins his academic career by studying Medicine at the University of Cologne where he completes the curriculum of this science.