A lot of people call it “The House of Virgin Mary” because, according to some traditions, the Monastery of Prousos in Evritania (Central Greece) was built at the exact place which Panagia chose in a miraculous way.
This holy site, that dates back to 829AD, is located 35kms away from Karpenisis. On the path that leads to the Monastery, there are the “footsteps of Theotokos” (Patimata tis Panagias). They are seven shapes of different colours each, which, according to some traditions, are the traces Virgin Mary left on her way to Proussos, on the rock that stands there.
According to some traditions the icon of Virgin Mary that was created by the Evangelist Lukas was taken away from Proussa of Asia Minor in 829AD, during the period of Iconomachy, so as to be saved from the burning of the Byzantine icons that the Emperor Theophilus had ordered. The icon was transferred to Greece by a young man whose name was Dionysios, but for an unknown reason, the icon was missing when he arrived to Thrace.
After Thrace, the icon appeared in Evritania, where it was revealed to a shepherd as a bright pillar that reached the sky. This happened on 23rdof August and this is the date when the icon is celebrated, as it was set by the Monastery where it was transferred as it was considered that this was the place where Virgin Mary chose in order to “reside.”
According to records of the Monastery, several parts of the icon were destroyed during Turkish occupation. More recently, the German invasion on the 16thof August 1944, let to complete destruction of its buildings. According to some testimonies, an officer wanted to burn the church however he was prevented by the “invisible hand” of Panagia, as he felt a strong power pushing him down to the floor, as he was giving his orders.
The icon of Panagia Proutiotissa is miraculous and for this reason a lot of believers from Greece and abroad come here all year round.
The main church, dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos, is in the cave. The ancient and incense-darkened Icon remains in the inner cave, surrounded by countless precious offerings. The offerings are truthful witnesses to innumerable miracles of times past and present. The village of Proussos has been built near the Monastery.
The Icon awaits the crowds of pilgrims who flock there from the 15th to the 22nd of August, which are the days of the feast.
Today the monastery is accessible by car. The car inches patiently along the winding dirt road, which is carved on the steep mountain slope. The road from the south comes to an elevated area called Stavros, from there the monastery can be seen perched on a recess of a precipice at the northwest corner of a narrow valley surrounded by mountain peaks. The pilgrim’s patience is rewarded with a great blessing, the veneration of the Icon of the All-Holy Mother of God of Prousa.
The Sacristy of the monastery contains a wealth of valuable handwritten codes, images, holy vessels, reliquaries, and books. Many treasures are also kept in the monastery’s museum such as images from the 15th and 16th century, sacred vestments, silver and gold chalices, handwritten codes, typography books and the sword of Karaiskakis.
Outside the monastery, there are two castles, one to the left and one to the right, which are called Towers of Karaiskakis. There is also a church of Agioi Pantes, built in 1754. Finally, there is the building that -during the Turkish occupation- housed the ‘School of the Greek letters’, fully restored and preserved.