The Vellas Monastery is located on a hill near the Kalamas River, 35 kilometers from Ioannina while it is close to Kalpaki. It owes its name to the Byzantine city of the same name, which was located on a hill near Kalamas and was inhabited until the 17th century. Today one can see the ruins of the Byzantine city and the castle at the "Paliovella" location.
The Monastery is dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin and was founded in the 11th century. The current catholicon is a building of the 18th century, while the elements that help to date it are a seal of the Monastery with the date 1732 and an inscription on the lintel of the catholicon where the year 1745 is commemorated as the year of its foundation. The expenditure for the reconstruction and painting of the monastery's catholicon was made by the bishop Vellas Germanos, while Konstantinos, Anastasios and Ioannis are listed as iconographers.
The interior of the temple is covered with frescoes. The first phase of the wall painting of the church dates back to 1601/2, and was probably done by Hionadite painters. The second mural is from 1838, the work of the painters Dimitrios and Christodoulou from Doliana. The pictorial program of both phases is the standard one. In the Sanctuary and the narthex are preserved representations of the three founders. The temple is also decorated with a wood-carved iconostasis.
The iconographic program of the Monastery is rich, while Greek philosophers (Plato, Solon, Plutarch, Aristotle) are also illustrated in the catholicon. There are portable icons with the date 1790.
In the past, the Monastery owned a large property in the surrounding area and even in Romania, which contributed to its prosperity until the pre-revolutionary years. In 1817, the monks left the monastery and fled to Corfu, fearing Ali Pasha to whom they had refused to grant the ecclesiastical property, with the result that at that time it presented an image of abandonment. The Monastery became Stauropigian in 1863. Its great relic is the manuscript Gospel of Matthew from Pogoniani.
In 1911, the Monastery of Vellas was founded for the training of priests and public teachers, who would serve in the rural area of the metropolis. The seminary functioned (later in the form of a higher ecclesiastical school) until 1989. Today, the monastery operates an ecclesiastical high school. There are dormitories for 200 students and a dining hall for 300, as well as other buildings. In the area of the monastery there is the spring of the same name, one of the main springs of Kalamas and abandoned mills.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou