The Monastery of Sotiros Moutsialis is located at the foot of Pieria above the river Aliakmonas, a little beyond the Skete of the Holy Forerunner to which it belongs. Access to the monastery is easy as it is very close to the riverside paved road, at a turn at the 11th kilometer.
The monastery was founded in the middle of the 18th century and functioned as an Androos monastery.
The word Moutsiali, with which the monastery is named, is a toponym, which indicates the place where there are many waters, or the swamp. Indeed, the monastery is adjacent to the river Aliakmonas, but also to many springs and streams that descend from the slopes of Pieria.
The monastery was completely destroyed in the period 1946-49. Until the beginning of the 1980s, the original enclosure of the monastery was preserved, but it had begun to collapse.
The monastic complex had the shape of a rectangular parallelogram and was surrounded by a mantrowall, built with massive ashlars.
From the old complex, the katholikon, i.e. the church of the monastery, is preserved today, which is located in the middle of the courtyard of the monastery and is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior. Architecturally, in its current form, the church is a three-aisled basilica, with wooden columns and a simple iconostasis, which separates the main church from the one-level elevated sanctuary to the east.
In the arch of the sacred step, a fresco with the Platytera of the Heavens is preserved, but it is very damaged, probably by fire. Half of the well-known performance "Extreme Humiliation" is preserved in the alcove of the intention.
In the center of the main temple, opposite the despotic throne, on the floor, there was an umphalium, that is, a marble slab with a carved double-headed eagle, which is not preserved today.
A narrow auxiliary door opens on the north wall. To the west, two steps lower, there is a spacious narthex, with a typical Macedonian pebble floor and arches.
The walls of the narthex are covered with frescoes. Their subject, the Second Coming of the Lord and the Coming Judgment.
Directly above the royal gate is a representation of Christ enthroned in an apse, while outside the apse are the linked figures of the Virgin Mary and the Forerunner. An inscription, in black color, is also preserved, in which the date, 1875, and a name, probably Athanasios, were previously visible.
Between the arches of the south side there is a fresco of Agios Symeon the Stylitis, on his pillar which bears traces of destruction by fire.
The door of the church to the west is old, very low, while the floor of the main church is high, two or three steps above the floor of the narthex.
A marble manual with its base, a marble bottle of consecration and an iron cross are preserved from the original church. The architectural elements that have survived to this day, as well as the few marble members, most likely date the original construction of the church around 1770. At the same time or somewhat earlier, in any case in the second half of the 18th century, the monastery must have been founded as well.
The church of Moutsialis used to be covered with a dome, something rare for the ecclesiastical architecture of Imathia. The dome, pressed by the eternal weight of the slabs with which it was covered, and by weather conditions, fell on October 26, 1955. Only two pilasters survive, on the north wall of the church.
Editor: Fotini Anastasopoulou