Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa
Community ID
 
4992
 
Alternate Names
 
Pantanassa
 
Town
 
Baionaia
 
Dedication
 
Mother of God
 
Date Founded
 
ca. 1400
 
Foundation Information
  
Other Ecclesiastical Relations
 

The convent maintained close relations with a neighboring male monastery of ton Karkasion, of which Neilos Damilas was a member (Introduction, Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, p. 1462). However, Neilos Damilas was careful to make sure that these two monasteries were administrated separately and that they not fall into the category of double monasteries. The nuns should not speak freely or eat with members of the male monastery. The monks brought provisions to the convent, such as clothing, shoes, and handiwork, but these were received only in the presence of the superior. Otherwise, monks were not allowed in the convent, and all work inside and outside the convent was performed by laymen (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 8).

The convent was a private foundation, and Neilos Damilas ignores local ecclesiastical hierarchy in the typikon (Introduction, Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, p. 1466).

 
Religious Activities
 

A spiritual father lived or made visits to the convent in order to celebrate the liturgy and hear confessions, and he was chosen with the consent of the majority of the nuns. The spiritual father could not remove any tonsured nun, as this was under the authority of the current superior (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 9 & 15). Ordained monks were explicitly prohibited from performing services at the convent (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 14).

Nuns attended church services and performed prostrations(between 200 and 25 per day). In services, nuns hymned psalms, and Neilos Damilas instructed them to do so in a mournful way. (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 10 & 12).

 
Social Characteristics
 

Three nuns administered the convent, a superior and two others. They were elected by the majority of nuns in the convent. When local authorities, nobles, or foreigners visited the convent, the superior was responsible for greeting them and determining whether they should enter the convent (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 18 & 20).

The convent had a gatekeeper who lived in a cell at the outer gate of the courtyard. The first gatekeeper was Makaria, who performed the task with her mother. After her death the nuns chose from among them two elderly women to act as gatekeeper. Gatekeepers could only open the gates with the permission of the superior (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 16).

 
Assets/Property
 

The inventory for the convent is alluded to in the typikon but no longer survives. The superior did possess a number of books which she was prohibited from loaning out (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 19-20).

 
Other Economic Activities
 

Neilos Damilas forbid that nuns do any work outside the monastery, although he does allude to the possibility that nuns could produce goods to be sold to outsiders, monks, and laymen. Nuns also exchanged goods with the male monastery (see above) (Introduction, Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, p. 1463).

 
Architecture & Archaeology
 

The construction of the convent began on May 9, 1399. The site is located in the modern village of Vainia (Introduction, Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, p. 1462).

 
Miscellaneous Information
 

In this typikon for the monastery, Neilos Damilas presents a number of rules concerned with the proper admittance of women into the monastery. He exhorts the nuns not to admit any female servant without the knowledge of her master, any married woman against the will of her husband, any married woman with children (unless the nuns have given her 1 year's trial to see if she can endure the loss of her children), or any girl under the age of 10. The age for novices was 13. Women must have an older nun to act as a sponsor in order to be tonsured. (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 5-6).

Once tonsured, women could not give any money to their relatives, although they were allowed to give relatives food. They could only speak with male relatives in the presence of their superior (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 7). Women were expelled from the convent if they did not wish to follow the convents rules or if she was a procuress wanton, or a troublemaker. If a women left the convent without permission, then she was to go without communion for as many years as nights she spent outside the convent (Neilos Damilas: Testament and Typikon of Neilos Damilas for the Convent of the Mother of God Pantanassa at Baionaia on Crete, ch. 17).