Agia Kiriaki (Saint Kiriaki), Kouramades
In a totally green, full of cypresses and trees hill, some meters only away from the road between Kokkinio and Kouramades Messis, there is the most recent monastery of Corfu, the one of Saint Kiriaki.
The village’s name originates from the seeds of the plant “kouramo” that is everywhere in the area. Even if the monastery is close to Corfu Town, it kept its traditional name and belongs to the municipal community of Achileion.
It can be said that after the Fall of Constantinople, before 1500, the Chitiris family settled in that village. This family was famous for their ability to make ecclesiastical bells and this ability was passed to their descendants. Their name still exists in the island.
Archimandrite Father Gabriel Nikiphoridis is responsible for the built of this monastery. Since he was a child, he was dreaming of building a monastery in that area. After his studies in the Theological School of Voukouresti and his spiritual, preaching and administrative activities for a decade in the Church of Crete (he served as director of the Youth Office in the Metropolis of Chania) and Kisamos and Selino (Professor, Chancellor etc.), in 1992 he returned in Corfu after an invitation by Bishop Timotheos (Trivizas) in order to be a preacher. At that time he decided to fulfill his dream.
His request for the allocation of twelve acres was accepted by the Ecclesiastical Board of the Saint Jonh’s parish and the Bishop.
In the 2nd of September 1992 the Presidential Decree for building the monastery was signed and published in the Newspaper of the Government (Official Government Gazette A’ 168/15-10-1992).
On the 19th of November according to ecclesiastical rules, father Gabriel was settled as a proper abbot of the monastery. On the 12th of July 1993, the Association of religious Architecture of Holy Synod granted the permission for building and on the 7th of October the first sanctification for the beginning of the first side of the monastery was done. The residents of Kouramades helped him to clean the area.
Without any financial aid, only through God’s help, the built of the monastery started and the abbot with the monks father Kosmas and father Prodromos were really happy to see it. The first buildings were completed in 1996.
On the 9th of November 1997, a celebratory divine liturgy was made and the Temple was finished in 1999 after a miraculous intervention of Saint Kiriaki.
The Monastery is basilica with a 16×7 m. Dome in which a magnificent wood-carved iconostasion (temple) was painted with vivid representations from the plant and animal kingdom and other images, inspired by the Old Testament. Responsible for the paintings were the experienced wood carvers Apostolos Elias and Michael Tsontzos from Ioannina.
The painting of sacred icons in the Temple undertook Spyridon Μ. Kardamakis, one of the most important and talented hagiographer (painter of the sacred images) of our time.
In order to cover the needs of the Monastery, in 2010 a new side started through the support of the Friends’ Association “Agios Kosmas o Aitolos”. The already existing buildings are now framed by a new Bell tower with ten bells. In the Monastery, there are also holy reliquaries of the Saints that are kept in it for the blessing and the support of the Christians.
Apart from their main duties, askesis and praying, the monks of Saint Kiriaki help with the building procedures of the Monastery, they make incense, they spend their time with the gardens and pets and also with the hagiography and the sewing of holy vestments.
The Holy Monastery is devoted to the memory of Saint Kiriaki (7th of July) and at the same time they honour the great Saint of the Nation Kosmas o Aitolos (24th of August).
Bishop of Corfu Nektarios Ntovas inaugurated the temple of the monastery in 2016.