The Panagia (Holy Virgin) Ipseni (Gypseni = gypsum) monastery is situated in a forested area about 50 kilometers south of Rhodes Town. The monastery can be reached via an exit from the village of Lardos. At a junction you than have to go to the left. You pass several newer monasteries and churches before you reach the monastery of Panagia Ipseni. The monastery was already inhabited in the early Christian era. The current structure is of much later date. The founder of the present monastery is called Saint Melitios and he was born in nearby Lardos. He miraculously found an icon after he saw a beam of light from the sky pointing to the roots of an olive tree. There he found buried in the ground the Panagia Ipseni icon. While he was praying Panagia Ipseni appeared and she asked him to rebuild the monastery and name it after her.
In another vision he was told where a hidden treasure was buried so he could afford to do this. In 1839 Saint Melitios began rebuilding the church. The icon of Panagia Ipseni is still the pride of the monastery. It is located on the right hand side of the church. People come to pray to the icon to be healed of diseases. The other treasure of the monastery are the holy relics of Saint Melitios.
The Panagia Ipseni monastery is a peaceful place and is not visited by many people. It is inhabited by some very friendly nuns. Some are quite old, but there are also some younger nuns. We were welcomed with a glass of fruit juice and found it a great experience. At the monastery the road more or less ends (it turns into an unpaved path) and its is better to turn around and drive back.