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Monastery of St. John the Baptist, Megara

The first Greek Orthodox Monastery I ever visited was the Monastery of St. John the Baptist, above Megara, Greece. I was traveling through Greece with my family in the summer of 2003, just a 12-year-old with her mind preoccupied with thoughts of home and concerned about what I would wear for my first day of junior high school upon my return from Greece. When my family got to the Monastery of St. John, we were invited to stay overnight, a rare treat offered to very few people. That night is forever cemented in my memory, and sparked my interest in monasteries. It was at St. John’s where I learned to live in the present.


During our stay, I learned the monastery was founded in 1960 by a nun who was first drawn to the site over two decades prior. This nun would spend her Sundays visiting and praying at local churches in the hills throughout the Megara region, walking great distances from her home and back each week. By the time my family visited, the monastery had expanded into a wonderful place far beyond its humble beginning.


the iconography that’s incomplete, will be painted of the head nun, Makrini, when she passes away.

The monastery is now a community of nuns with a resident priest who ministers services. One of the best English-speaking nuns gave us a tour of the spotless grounds, and we were shown a room with special treasures and iconography that not many guests are allowed to see, and where taking photographs is discouraged. That afternoon we were treated to a light dinner–meatless of course because our visit coincided with fasting day–that was delicious through its simplicity. In the middle of the night we woke to the sound of beautiful chanting, harmonized perfectly by the nuns. The service lasted nearly all night, for we were visiting during a most holy time, the Dormition fast, or the fast of the Virgin Mary, who is celebrated on August 15th throughout Greece. I walked by the chapel where the women were chanting to listen closer, and then went back to my dorm for one of the most peaceful nights of sleep I’ve ever had.


My family awoke to bad news—there was a transportation strike in Greece and we weren’t able to hire a taxi back to Athens. The nuns didn’t seem phased, and the head nun quickly instructed one of the sisters to drive us all the way into Athens in the monastery van. It was such over the top hospitality from the moment we arrived that cause my memories of that visit to never be forgotten. And the biggest reason why is that the head nun, Makrini, is my Papou Saltas’ first cousin. She is a gentle sprite of a woman, who sees everything and from whom oozes sincerity and peace. My papou never visited Greece so they never met, but she treated us like our families had known each other for a lifetime and she has done so on every visit since. If you find yourself in the Megara area, take the drive into the hills and visit St. John the Baptist Makrinou, a beautiful monastery overlooking the Gulf of Corinth and led by my dear relative, Makrini Saltas.



  1. Dessie Manousakis says

    A touching, beautiful story Eleni. Thank you for sharing.

    • elenisaltas says

      Ah thank you so much for reading it, I’m so happy to share these moments!

  2. I have a cousin who was there from 1963. Her original name was Fotini Polyxronis. Change to Febronia. I recently heard she had passed from this life. The Monastery was then called, St. John the Beheaded, or Apokefalistou. Let me know if this is the monastery that my cousin was in if you can locate her–I would be very obliged to you. Great Monastery though!

    • elenisaltas says

      Hi Valerie! How wonderful you have a relative that lived the monastic life, you and your family are very blessed! I’ll look into that for you. Was it in Megara, do you know? The monastery that my cousin is at is called St. John the Baptist, I haven’t heard of it called any other name. Though, St John was beheaded, so maybe that is another name for the monastery?

  3. Yes, Eleni, it’s in Megara. Hope you can find where she is. I too was there many years ago and I had stayed overnight in a monastic cell. It was just as you described. Unforgettable!

  4. Valerie Maglaras Beaudrie says

    Hi Eleni, The more I look at the pictures, the more I am convinced that this is the same monastery as the one I visited when I was 22. My cousin might have been the one with the good English because she had lived with our family in Chicago for four years before she when back to Athens Greece and became a nun. She is my father’s niece, from his sister, Theia Stavroula and her husband, Theio Panagioti.

  5. elenisaltas says

    Ahhh, then you must be right this is probably the monastery! It is difficult to get in contact with anyone at the monastery though, especially as I’m in the United States. I may be visiting this September, and would be able to get information in person, I hope that isn’t too long for you, I’m sorry I can’t find out much about the nuns before then.

  6. vmbeaudr says

    Hi Eleni, No that isn’t too long for me. I know they are difficult to write and receive mail from. I used to write to my cousin Fevronia and she would answer me at first with Christian Orthodox counseling in Greek of course. She was an honor student in Athens Greece; came to the U.S. when she graduated High School; and went to the University here in Chicago for four years. She became fluent in English and was always an extremely good person and deeply religious, you know. Thanks, and I’ll wait. Vasiliki

  7. Valerie Maglaras Beaudrie says

    Hi Eleni! I hope you’re having a good time visiting Greece. Awaiting to hear from you if my cousin Nun Fevronia is still alive there. I have written many times and got no response from St. John’s Monastery in Alepohori, Megara, Athens, Greece. Continue to enjoy your vacation there. Hope to hear from you.
    Vasiliki Maglaras Beaudrie

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