top of page
Cave Explorer


Saint Onuphrius Catacombs

The catacombs of Agios Onoufrios in Methoni are an exceptional example of an early Christian cemetery and the oldest discovered in Messinia. They are one of only two such catacombs in Greece.

Situated on the outskirts of Methoni village, the catacombs are situated atop a small hill. Likely established in the 4th century and used until the 6th century, the catacombs later served as a hermitage during the 12th and 13th centuries when frescoes were added. The site features burial openings carved into the natural limestone rock and remnants of wall paintings. Comprising six chambers, the Early Christian cemetery includes arcosolia, pit tombs, niches for lamps, and benches for offerings, all associated with funerary practices. Visitors will find a cave with openings carved into the rocky floor, remnants of iconography on the walls, cisterns carved into the soft rock, and arched rooms where hermits lived in the 5th century. From above, only the entrance is visible, partially hidden by shrubs.

The hermits accessed the catacombs via steps carved into the porous rock. Over time, the eastern part was destroyed by Frankish and Venetian conquerors who used the stones for Methoni Castle. This left only a few cavities on the western slope of the rock. The remaining part of the catacombs is believed to have been used as an ascetic church dedicated to St. Onoufrios, with frescoes adorning its internal surfaces. Unfortunately, before archaeologists recognized their significance in 1961, shepherds used the cave for their flocks, and the fires they lit destroyed much of the iconography.


Onoufrios, also known as Saint Onuphrius, was an Egyptian hermit who lived in the 4th and 5th centuries. Renowned for his ascetic lifestyle, he spent decades in the desert in complete solitude, dedicating his life to prayer and penance. According to legend, he was initially a monk in a community but sought deeper solitude to live closer to God. Onoufrios is often depicted with long hair and a beard, wearing only a loincloth made of leaves. His life exemplifies the extreme dedication and spiritual fervor characteristic of early Christian hermits.​​

Icon of Saint Onuphrius

Getting There

There is no easy way to reach the catacombs as there is no roadside parking, neither a clear path.  For those eager to see the catacombs, nothing is impossible. Just a little determination and caution when treading along the rocky path, and you will reach the destination.  Its worth the pilgrimage.

bottom of page