In a peaceful setting 4km to the southwest of Laerma is the oldest monastic foundation on the island, and still one of the most active today: the monastery of the Archangel Michael ‘Tharrinos’, or ‘Moni Tharri’ (67km). (Open continuously until sunset.) The foundation may go back as far as the 9th century; the main catholicon building is of the early 12th century; and there are -wall-paintings in several layers, dating principally from the 13th, 15th and 17th centuries—all of considerable quality. The monastery was rescued from decline in 1990 by the efforts of a new abbot from Patmos, and the stable monastic com munity of mostly (young) Greek and Serbian monks now numbers over twenty. The church is cruciform with two short arms and a long nave, surmounted by an arcaded cupola-drum. The west door is curiously off-centre, perhaps because of the position of the threshold in a pre-existing structure (whose foundations can be seen to the north side of the church). Many periods of painting are represented in the impressive interior: the austere figures of the Church Fathers in the lowest area in the apse are probably contemporary with the construction of the church (12th century); those in the dome, drum, vault and sanctuary walls—the (damaged) Pantocrator, the Virgin, St John the Baptist, Angels and Prophets—are slightly later work of the early 13th century. It should be recalled that a later layer of 17th century paintings which originally covered these was removed and is now displayed inside the church of St Mary of the Castle, in Rhodes (see pp. 83–84). An inscription in the prothesis niche to the left side of the sanctuary, dates the paintings of the upper cylinder of the apse to 1506. In the arms of the church the Archangels (south), SS Demetrius and George (north) and the scenes of the Annunciation (with donor) and Dormition (north) are also of the 16th century. The -Scenes of the Life of Christ along the vault of the nave, although the latest—early 18th century— are in many ways the most remarkable: the style of the artist is quite individual and would seem to show his training as a manuscript illuminator. Line-drawing prevails over model ling in all the scenes, and details of costume or background are delicately described as if with a fine-pen. The effect is most unusual; the compositions—Christ and the Woman of Samaria, The Angel at the Empty Sepulchre, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee—are beautifully balanced and executed by an artist of considerable talent. The finely carved wooden icon ostasis is also work of the early 18th century. Sixteen kilometres of winding, wooded track leads down from Moni Tharri to the east coast via the monastery’s dependent foundations—the contemporaneous Aghios Giorgios Inkou, and the 19th century convent of the Panaghia Ypsenis.
Rhodes Island is part of the Dodecanese Island Group, Greece.