An antiquity of 150o years is claimed for the foundation of the monastery, but it is certain that the first person who raised it to importance was the emperor Alexius Comnenus III.
Southern Albania and Epirus remained under Byzantine domination till 1204, when, after the capture of Constantinople by the crusaders, Michael Comnenus, a member of the imperial family, withdrew to Epirus and founded an independent sovereignty known as the Despotate of Epirus at Iannina; his realm included the whole of southern Albania, Acarnania and Aetolia.
The despotate of Epirus was held by the Comnenus family till' 1318, and by princes of the house of Orsini till 1358.
A constitution of Alexius Comnenus I.
In three arduous campaigns, the two first of which were conducted by the emperor himself while the third was directed by Manuel Comnenus, the Turks were defeated in detail and finally (1070) driven across the Euphrates.