Hosios Loukas: general
The remains of ancient Stiris are probably disappeared under the beautiful Hosios Loukás Monastery, dedicated to Saint Loukas Stiris, who died here in 953. The large church, dedicated to Loukas, dates from 1011-48 and contains beautiful mosaics. The smaller church attached to it (Theotókos) dates from about 50-60 years earlier and also contains important mosaics.
The entire complex was founded by Romanos around 1011, in honor of the fulfillment of Loukas ‘prediction (in 941) that Crete would be liberated from the Saracens’ domination by an emperor named Romanos. Twenty years later, Loukas’ prediction came true, after which a strong recovery of Byzantium’s power took place among a number of energetic soldier-emperors. To celebrate this success, the emperors built a new, large church on top of the old chapel of Saint Barbara (where the bones of Loukas also rest). The cross shape of the great church has become an example for many later Byzantine churches. The mosaics and architecture combined make the monastery one of the most important medieval buildings in Greece, comparable only to the monastery of Dafni near Athens.