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  Omala > sights >      Saint Gerasimos Monastery
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Here we are, at the place which the patron Saint of Cephalonia decide to make his home and at which his miracles attract a whole crowd of visitors and believers.
The original 16th century monastery was completely destroyed by the earthquake in 1953, except for its belltower. Now a more recent small church lies where the original monastery was located and a bigger even more recent church has been built nearby. This newer church is built in byzantine style, not commonly seen on the island and its paintings are almost finished, since they are done with special care and the painter can perform only during summer months in order to avoid the humidity of the winter months.
There are also other two buildings around the church : one of which houses the nuns (it's a female monastery) and the other is a guesthouse that accommodates believers who occasionally come and visit.
The small church is built above a cave that the Saint himself built with his own bare hands. His unknownly-preserved body is kept in this small church. You can descend in the underground cave although claustrophobic and asthmatic people should avoid it. Next to this church you can see a huge platan who is said to have been planted by the Saint himself.
Two feasts take place each year : on October 20th, when his death is celebrated and on August 16th, which remember the transportation of the Saint's body. On these occasions a procession is held in which people carry the Saint's body up to the biggest platan onthe site which is called the Saint's Platan. This ceremony is attended by ecclesiastic authorities and political authorities from all around Greece as well as by hundreds of Cephalonians and other curious people. The Saint is considered to be the protector and healer of the crazy so various sick people lie in the street for the Saint to pass over them expecting a miracle.

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