On the road connecting Chora to Kato Meria, one can discover a dependance of the Monastery of Chozoviotissa, a small monastery dedicated to St George the Valsamitis. 450 meters away from the edge of the beam of the main road, a small alley descends the monument surrounded by dense native vegetation. Even here the source flows with great tradition and history. At the bottom of the ravine, visitors can see Katapola between the high hills.
An ancient path but clean path starts from there leading to Katapola.
Opposite to the monastery, still stands the remains of a square tower from the first period of Venetian occupation (13th century). This tower used to protect the passage from the center to the lower part of the island, and also oversaw the open sea, both north and south.
The natural source of the monastery used to be extensively irrigated. In 1700, the browser Tournefort (1700) speaks about the delicious juicy grapes of Valsamitis. The large quantity of water provided in earlier times justifies the presence of a nearby watermill. Today, the water flows from 3-4 small springs around the territory.
The complex of Valsamitis, was quite important and known to the maritime world of the southeastern Aegean during the Turkish occupation because of the prophetic qualities of its source. It became a monastery during the Byzantium time until it become a dependance of Chozoviotissa.
Built on the foundations of older Byzantine churches, the vaulted aisled of the actual church dates from the 16th century.Higher arches (Byzantine) alternate with lower (Ottoman period) among the aisles.
The presence of the holy water source and the small receiving tank inside the temple date from the early Christian basilica but some written sources indicate that in the same place existed an ancient sacred water oracle.
The water oracle of Balsamiti was in 1651 mention by browsers “as one of the worthy curiosity of the island” and several ways of the holy water ritual was described in detail.
In 1967, on the decision of the Sacred Mitropoleos of Santorini, Amorgos and Nison the “speaking water” of Valsamitis stopped being active. Up to then, before any act, travel, engagement, transaction, studies, people should consult their Agios Giorgos Balsamitis to submit query and receive the blessing. The water was read by a monk of the monastery Hozoviotissa, staying at Balsamitis. Wearing the stole, he was filling drop by drop a glass of the sacred water, reading and explaining the visible, auspicious or ominous signs. While the clarity of the water was auspicious sign for the questioner, it was necessary to interpret those who had crept into the glass: powders, aquatic insects, hair, dried leaves, etc.
Offerings to the church and especially witness testimony through centuries show that the importance and reputation of Valsamitis, was not limited to Amorgian people but to inhabitants of all islands and even pirates. The power of the believe in this sacred water and the fear of not respect them was so strong that even after the church forbid the access to the source in 1967, people continued consulting it.
They secretly made a hole in the ciment and the last common people that knew to interpret the signs were consulted. Today, the water of Valsamitis that has been speaking for so many centuries got silent with the lost of all its interpreters.
For the last two years a nun leaves there and take good care of this beautiful place. Open in the morning and in the afternoon, she really enjoys to present the place and also to show her work and paintings.
Tours can be organized with Aegialis Tours: + 30 22850 73393
See some pictures