Saint Andreas Monastery was founded in 1587 by the countess Roxanne. An icon of saint Andreas was found under an apple-pear tree so the monastery was named after the tree. It is located exactly next to saint Andreas museum and visitors are amazed by its treasures and beauty.
The monastery was founded during the Byzantine era and re-established in 1579 when three local spiritual sisters Benedict, Leondia and Magdalen bought the land where the chapel of the Apostle Andrew once stood and started a small nunnery.
In 1639 the Greek Romanian princess Roxane, renamed nun Romila, started her monastic life. The wealthy princess dedicated a large amount of money to the monastery and brought a valuable spiritual treasure from Mount Athos. This was the Holy remains of the right foot (sole) of Apostle Andrew, with the hole from the crucifixion of the Saint.
The monastery also has an ecclesiastical Byzantine museum founded in 1988 which is located in the old church which was the only building preserved from the 1953 earthquake. The art treasures found there date between 1300-1900 AD.
Besides the existing wall paintings and icons found in the monastery, others have been transferred to the museum from abandoned churches all over Kefalonia.
During the British rule in the early 19th century, there was conflict between the nuns and the British who temporarily interrupted the divine services at the Monastery and covered their beautiful frescoes with asbestos in 1832 because the Monastery – a Greek Orthodox epicenter – had a negative attitude towards the British rule.
Now the treasures of the Monastery and icons are displayed with pride and among them is a painting of the nun Romila with her parents.
In the Nunnery solemn vigils are performed continuously and Holy Mass takes place every Sunday. The nuns spend the rest of their time making bishops’ officiating robes, handicrafts and gardening. The Nunnery celebrates twice a year – on the Friday after Easter and on 30th November which is the feast day of Saint Apostle Andrew.