The monastery of Saint Loukas was the Founding Monastery of the Kapodistrias family and functioned as a women’s sanctuary. It is located on the upper road of Gouvia, in an idyllic lush forest and looks like it came out of a fairy tale.
The impressive entrance with the green, wide stairs and the imposing bell tower that functions as a gate entices the visitor to explore one of the most beautiful secrets of the island.
Despite the beauty of the buildings, the courtyard, the paths and the green surroundings, the monastery needs immediate repair as the wear and tear of time is evident both inside and out. It is being preserved thanks to the love of the people and the local church parish, and in particular, the initiatives of Ms. Peta’s family.
The monastery “comes to life” on the eve and on the day of the feast of the Saint, October 18th, while a Divine Liturgy is celebrated on a Sunday of the month. It has also been used as an event space (book presentation) and sacraments have been performed (weddings, baptisms). Apart from these special occasions, it is not open to the public; admission is only by appointment.
The custom of “meat soup”
On the eve of the feast of St. Luke, the women of the area cook meat soup with beef which they distribute to those present in the courtyard of the Monastery at the end of the evening or on the day of his feast. The custom is accompanied by song and dance, as is usually done at festivals on the island. Its origins are lost in the depths of the centuries but were revived in 2017. It seems to have started when the workers of the Kapodistrias family – who worked in the surrounding estates of Desylla, were raising calfs. This was slaughtered before the feast and on the day, they gave the beef head and pieces of beef to the nuns to make beef soup to distribute to the faithful after the Divine Liturgy.
The Kapodistria sisters
The twin sisters of Ioannis Kapodistrias, who both had the same name, “Katerina”, are buried in the monastery. One was consecrated in the monastery. They became nuns as, at that time, women who did not marry were presented with no other choice. One was named Euphrosyne and retired to the monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos Lambovitissa, in the village of Kalavouri and the other was named Euphemia and stayed in Saint Loukas. An excavation at the site revealed that both are buried under the slabs, sedentary in lead coffins.
ypaithros.gr, ΠΕΤΑ, Αγγελική (2019). “Αναβίωσε το έθιμο της “κρεατόσουπας” στη μονή του Αγίου Λουκά στην Κέρκυρα”, https://www.ypaithros.gr/anabiose-ethimo-kreatosoupas-moni-agiou-louka-kerkyra/