Nea Moni has particular religious meaning and in the same time it is an important cultural monument.
It was founded in the middle of 11th century. Three monks Nicetas, John and Joseph found the holy icon of Virgin Mary in a burning myrtle, without being burned. The emperor Konstantinos Monomachos, as he had promised to the monks, built the Monastery. Both the emperor and his wife, Zoe Porfyrogenniti, showed continually their interest and their love for Nea Moni. The next emperors as well, gave Chrysovoula, special privileges and donations to the Monastery.
The emperor proposed to the monks that they choose any architectural design of temple that existed in Constantinople in order to built Nea Moni, with only exception the temple of God's Wisdom [Hagia Sophia]. Finally the monks chose and the architect built the temple according to the design of the church of Saint Apostles the Small that was in Constantinople, a church that unfortunately does not exist today.
Nea Moni was for many centuries one of the richest monasteries in the Aegean. About 800 monks used to live inside the Monastery or in nearby cells. Nea Moni was famous for the big library and helped economically many schools. And many great teachers have connectedGf the island didn't allow the restoration of the cupola before 1900. Since the middle of the 20th century permanent works of restoration of the buildings and maintainance of unique mosaics are being made.
The holy icons, the mosaics and the architecture help Nea Moni to distinguish between many churches of Byzantine period. Mosaics, with multicolored parts from glass and natural stone adorn the domes, the Holy Step and big departments of the temple.
The location of the Monastery, among cypresses, in stone-built compound with erratic form, gives a special tone. The catholic of the Monastery, with amazing mosaics, and its octagonal islander type. We only meet this type in Chios and Cyprus. The cultural value of Nea Moni was recognized internationally with the registration in List of World Heritage maintained by UNESCO.
The miraculous holy icon of Virgin Mary is found in the iconostasis on the right of the Beautiful Gate. It is a small holy icon of Virgin Mary, without Her Son, turned to the left. Accordin to tradition the first holy icon was work of Evangelist Loukas. The holy icon has a newer golden cover and the dedication of Konstantinos Monomachos, his Chrysovoulo ring.
On the south-west of the catholic exists the Trapeza of the Monastery and in the west the defensive Tower. The semi-underground Kinsterna (built water reservoir) is maintained precisely at the same condition as when it built back in the 11th century, and we should mark that it has resemblances with the Kinsterna of Hagia Sofia in Constantinople.
The most cells of the Monastery unfortunately have been destroyed. A two-storied building with cells has been repaired and it works as a museum, while the Monastery has become a Nunnery. Educational programs for students are taking place in Nea Moni regularly.
Nea Moni celebrates on August 23rd, the Apodosis of the Dormition of the Mother of God. Many people come each year to venerate the miraculous holy icon of Virgin Mary. In May 20th is honoured the of saints Nicetas, John, and Joseph.