Kathara monastery is situated 566 m. above sea level, 6 klm. away
from the homonymous village. There are two views concerning the construction of
a church and a monastery, both dedicated to Virgin Mary (Panaghia). The first
claims that peasants went to the area to burn ''kathara'', i.e. wild grass and
thorns, found Virgin Mary's icon and decided to build a church there. The second
view related the foundation of the monastery with the Catholic sect of Kathara.
Whichever of the two views is true, it is a fact that Virgin Mary's church was
built in 1696 and the monastery which was built a few years later was active until
Nowadays no monks live in the monastery which is open only in summer
offering hospitality to the visitors. Virgin Mary's icon is believed to have been
painted by Loukas, the Evangelist. The church's wooden carved icon screen is also
of superb beauty. Until recently another valuable icon, probably painted by El
Greco, was kept in the monastery. The icon is depicting Jesus on the way to Calvary.
This icon is today kept in Aghios Georgios' church, in Vounaki. Panaghia Kathariotissa
who is the island's patron saint celebrates on 8th and 14th September and on Easter