The Monastery of Aria is northeast of Nafplio, in the Aria suburb, 3 kilometres from the centre of the city. The monastery’s catholicon is one of the most important churches of Peloponnese, dated to the middle of the 12th century, and dedicated to the Zoodochos Pigi (life-giving spring) in 1875.
The catholicon is kept in an excellent condition, although an inscription outside of the temple, right by the central entrance, dates its year of building at 1149. The church itself is of great architectural interest, since it belongs to a complex style that incorporates a dome supported by four columns, the building itself shaped in a cross, with three aisles; a very rare style in the Greek space since it was favoured by the people of Constantinople.
The monastery is built on a hill over Aria, where underwater rivers used to spring in four places, with the largest of the springs inside the monastery. Up to 1960, the springs were the main water supply of Nafplio.
The monastery and the catholicon are built on ruins of an ancient temple, parts of which are incorporated in the new building; the observant visitor can see the columns, the capitals and the tiles of the ancient building. Inside the church is the image of the Faneromenos Christos (Revealed Christ), discovered in 1920 behind the bema by a Greek-American named Theodoros Rogkopoulos; he had dreamed of the image and the place it was hidden in. The monastery used house monks but today it has 10 nuns; it also used to be called the “Ieron Palladion” (Iero meaning sacred).
The day of the Zoodochos Pigi (the first Friday after Easter), the church celebrates with the procession of the image around the temple.