Today, the only surviving part of the Byzantine monastery is the "Katholikon", a church with a Greek cross plan and a dome resting on four piers. Three apses, polygonal on the outside with the middle one larger, project from the east end, while a transverse narthex runs along the west side. The architecture of the church is considered a masterpiece. The exterior is articulated by alternating half-cylindrical brick buttresses and arched openings, the symmetrical vaulted roofs of the cross-arms and the elegant dome.
Most historians ascribe the foundation of this convent to the Emperor Romanus I Lecapenus (920-944), though Pseudo-Codinus mentions the existence of an earlier monastery in the 8th century. The Myrelaion was a nunnery to which many members of the Imperial Family made generous donations. Anna Dalassena, mother of Alexius I Comnenus, ceded to the monastery the island of Leros, as recorded in documents of the years 1085 and 1087. Several members of the Macedonian Dynasty and of the Dynasty of the Comneni were buried in the convent.
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