KARYES (Village) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23711-3, 23221
Fax: +30 23770 23315
It is a three-aisle basilica, with its central aisle on a higher level and an external gallery along the northern side. The tall rectangular bell-tower is built a few meters away from the north-east corner of the church. The marble iconostasis of the church is still in its place, as well as the portable icons painted by Theophanes, in the mid-16th century, along with the the miraculous icon of the Virgin "Axion Esti".
The monument, which in its earliest form is dated to the 10th century, has been decorated with frescoes by the main representative of the so-called Macedonian School, Manuel Panselinos.
Apart from the historic elements of the monument, the frescoes which cover practically every wall of the church , are undoubtedly the most brilliant example of the Paleologean Art, around 1300, whose colours, forms and sentiments have found their best expression in the hands of the most worthy master of the period.
The restoration of the monument was carried out by the Archaeological Service during the '50s and '60s, while recently the 10th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities completed the conservation of the wall paintings.
The church is in use for the daily worship of the monks who live in Karyes for more than ten centuries, and it is also used for all the official ceremonies of the Holy Community.
Karyes has been the seat of the self-governing body of Mount Athos
and the seat of the 'protos' since the 10th century. At that time the settlement
comprised some small older monasteries and the residences of representatives of
Assemblies of the monks were usually held on 15th August, the Virgin's feast-day, in the Protaton church, the very heart of monasticism on Athos; disputes between monasteries, mainly about land holdings, were settled there.
Dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin, the Protaton is a large triple-aisled basilica with narthex. Built in the 10th century it was repaired in the reign of Andronikos II Palaeologos (1282-1328). The wall-paintings (circa 1300) have been attributed to Manuel Panselinos; the artist, whoever he was, created a work that has gained world-wide acclaim in our time.
The extraordinary abundance of painted scenes, free of all abstraction and featuring exquisite figures that come close to defining the quintessence of man, give superb material expression to the vision of Palaeologian art.
By kind permission of:Ekdotike Athenon
This text is cited Nov 2003 from the Macedonian Heritage URL below, which contains images.
MONI AGIOU PANTELEIMONOS (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23252, 23201
The monastery is built in a bay near the Xenophontos monastery, from the side of Siggitikos and is dedicated to its namesake Saint. It gives the impression of a small city with its many-stored buildings and the churches' tall cupolas. The Katholicon is built in the early 19th c. and its frescoes are typical of the russian art. The monastery has 15 chapels and 5 kellia, 2 of them at Karyes. The monastery also owns the Chromitsa metochion, the Bogoroditsa (or the Carpenter's) Skete, the Nea Thebais or Gournoskete and Paleomonastiro.
In the 13th c. the monastery is burnt and rebuilt with the financial support of the emperor Andronicus II Paleologus and Serbian rulers. The monastery knows alternatively periods of prosperity and great misery. The monks are Greek and Russian, which outnumber the first after 1497. In the 18th c. the monastery is again in greek hands, only to fall back to the Russians in 1875.
In the monastery there are many portable icons, heirlooms and liturgical vestments. The library contains 1320 greek and 600 slavic manuscripts and over 20,000 greek and russian books.
The monastery in inhabited by a brotherhood of 40 monks.
MONI CHELANDARIOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23281, 23797, 23494, 23108
Fax: +30 23770 23494
The history of the monastery begins in the 10th century but, after its ruin, the emperor Alexius III, in 1198 granted it to the Serbian rulers Stefan Nemanja and his son Rastko, who became monks (Symeon and Sava respectively) who proseeded to the construction of new buildings. During the 14th century, the monastery reached its highest peak, accumulating riches and heirlooms from imperial as well as private donnations.
One of the largest and richest in heirlooms monasteries of the Holy Mountain, Chelandar is the main spiritual center of the Serbs from the 12th century onwards. Besides the central church (Katholicon), honoured in the memory of the Presentation of the Virgin, there are many chapels, the refectory and the aisles with the monks΄ cells as well as the other auxiliary buildings (guest-house, library and others).
The present monastic community preserves close relations with the Serbian people as well as the Greek population of the Holy Mountain and its neighbouring area.
Apart from the abundance of frescoes (St. George΄s Tower, Katholicon, old and new Refectory etc), the monastery possesses one of the largest libraries of Slavonic and Greek manuscripts, as well as a large number of portable icons dated in the 12th century onwards.
MONI DOCHIARIOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23245
It is one of the most elegant and beautiful monasteries of the Holy Mountain, sited by the sea. One sees first the Refectoty (old and new) and ends at the uppermost point on a high tower which dominates the place. The Katholikon, which is equally high, has been built over the walls of the older church.
The monastery was founded during the second half of the 10th century; its foundation is attributed to Euthymios, a pupil of Saint Athanasius of the Great Lavra, who had the service of the "Docheion" (vessel), which gave the name to the monastery. The Katholicon and the Refectory were built and decorated with frescoes in the mid 16th century (1568). The wall-paintings of the Refectory are dated in 1675 and in 1700 (the northern part).
Apart from the 16th century frescoes in the Katholicon, there are also important frescoes of the 18th century in the exonarthex, which are excellent copy of the 14th century from other monuments. Equally remarkable is also the library of the monastery, where one can find, apart from the most important historic monuments, abour 900 manuscripts.
The monastery is inhabited by a very active group of monks who take care of its various needs -especially the hospitality to pilgrims and scholars.
MONI ESFIGMENOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23653
Fax: +30 23770 23653
The monastery is built by the sea and surrounded by a rectangular wall which forms a rathwer spacious courtyard. In the middle one sees the Katholicon and around, the wings with the monks' cells, the guest-house and the refectory, which is a semi-detached building in the west wing, west of the Katholicon.
Με το here was always a monastery in existence with this name in the 10th century and apparently flourishing during the byzantine period. It has been pillaged by pirates many times, but again considerable power after the 18th century. The Katholicon was built in 1810 in the place of an older church that had been demolished, while the frescoes were made by the Galatista painters in 1811 and 1818. The monastery's oldest building is the refectory with its frescoes of 16th-17th centuries.
Apart from the Katholicon and the refectory, the monastery possesses an excellent collection of Byzantine and postbyzantine icons, among which the most remarquable is the mosaic icon of Christ. In the library one can see many rare manuscripts, among which the manuscript no 14 is set out for its remarquable decoration.
The monastery is inhabited be a large number of energetic monks who follow strictly the Athonite monastic tradition.
MONI FILOTHEOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23256, 23674-9
Fax: +30 23770 23674
The monastery lies in a paltean, a little above the monastery of Karakallou about 2.5 hrs from Karyes and is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin. The Katholicon is built shortly before the mid 18th c. and decorated with frescoes after the mid 18th c. The monastery has eight chapels and 13 kellia, one of them at Karyes.
The monastery was founded in the last quarter of the 10th c. but only in the end of the 11th c. takes the form of a monastery. In the end of 13th and 14th c. the monastery receives financial aid by the emperors of Byzantium and the Serbian rulers. After the fall of the empire, the monastery is financially supported by the rulers of eastern Europe. In 1871, the monastery with the exception of the Katholikon, the Refectory and the library, is burnt to the ground.
The monastery owns many heirlooms, holy relics and above all the miraculous icon of the Virgin Glykophilousa. The library contains 250 manuscripts and many books.
The monastery is inhabited by a brotherhood of 50 monks.
MONI IVIRON (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23248, 23643-5, 23203
Fax: +30 23770 23248
Third in precedence among the twenty monasteries of the Holy Mountain, the monastery was built in the end of the 10th century by the Georgian (Iberes) monks Ioannis and Euthymius in the place where there was before the monastery of Clement. The 16th century has been a period of prosperity for the monastery, and, as result, it has been decorated with splendid painting works (the Katholicon frescoes etc).
Built by the sea, the monastery is surrounded by four aisles, presenting a rectangular shape. In the center, one sees the central church, founded in the 10th century, as the two historically important chapels, of Panaghia Portaitissa and of John the Precursor. The largest part of the aisles has been rebuilt during the 19th century.
A numerous monastic community is in charge of the restoration of the ruined buildings surrounding the monastery and offers hospitality to scientists from all the world, who wish to study the historic heirlooms of the monastery.
The monastery΄s feast is on August 15th - day of the dormition of the Virgin - (August 28th in the New diary) and is celebrated with particular splendour. Many pilgrims visit the monastery for the legendary miracles of the Panaghia Portaitissa.
MONI KARAKALOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23225, 23279
Fax: +30 23770 23746
The monastery is situated between the monasteries of Great Lavra and Iviron, on a slope by the sea and is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. Inside the fortified enclosure, there is the Katholikon of athonite type, built in mid 16th c. and decorated with frescoes in the early 18th c. The monastery has 7 chapels, 4 Kellia in Karyes, and 14 Kellia in the forest to the S.W. of it.
The monastery is mentioned in documents of 1018 and 1087. In the 13th c. the monastery is entirely ruined and rebuilt by the emperors Andronic II and Ioannis V Paleologos. Afterwards the monastery is attacked by Latins and pirates. In the 16th c. it is completely destroyed and rebuilt with the financial aid of rulers of Moldavia and Vlachia.
In the monastery, there are many portable icons, holy heirlooms and ecclesiastical vessels. The library contains 279 manuscripts and about 2,500 books.
MONI KONSTAMONITOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23228, 23278
The monastery is situated between the monasteries of Zografou and Dionysiou, 30 min from the sea, in the side of Siggitikos and is dedicated to St Stephen. The Katholicon is built after the mid 19th c. following the athonite type, over the ruins of the old Katholicon. The monastery has 9 chapels.
The first mention of the monastery is from the 11th c. In the early 14th c. it is destroyed. Afterwards, its borders are defined by imperial chrysoboula, and it is financially supported by Serbian rulers. After the fall of the Empire, the monastery knows alternatively periods of prosperity and great
Perhaps, the most outstanding of the monastery's heirlooms, are the portable icons of St Stephen, of Virgin Hodegetria and of Virgin Antiphonetria. There are also reliquaries, ecclesiastical vessels, chrysoboula and others. The library contains 110 manuscripts and many books.
The monastery is inhabited by a brotherhood of 30 monks.
MONI KOUTLOUMOUSSIOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23226
Fax: +30 23770 23731
The monastery buildings are set in a rectangular shape with a rather vast courtyard, with the central church (Katholicon) in its center. The refectory is presently built a new (1995), while the central church, built in the 16th century, is covered with five domes and with a glass covered exonarthex.
The original monastery was built before the 12th century but in the 14th centutry, abbot Chariton of Imvros, receeded to the enlargement of the monastery; during its lifetime vast destructions were caused either by fire or by fall of rocks.
Apart from the Katholicon frescoes dated in the mid 16th century, the monastery possesses more than 600 manuscipts, many of which are illuminated, as well as imporant historic archive and a large number of old printed books.
IN THE MEDIEVAL TOWNSHIP of Karyes,
with its picturesque houses dominated by the Protaton
Basilica, the mists of winter weigh as heavy as lead, as if they sought to
halt the advance of time. Only with difficulty can one make out the cobbled road
leading out of the town to a green hillside in the direction of Koutloumousi.
The mist drifts close to the ground, caressing the golden-green leaves of the
hazel trees, the slender trunks of the wild chestnuts, "where nature has
striven to offer a unique model of magnificence and beauty of form", the
vines and the olive trees, the variety of ornamental trees which betray the hand
of man among the natural vegetation. From out of this composition of elements
emerges the silent, formidable old guardian of mysteries, the castle wall, from
which in turn rise a lofty defensive tower and domes covered in lead. They stare
out over the Thracian Gulf,
over Samothrace and Imbros
and the summit of Athos itself,
crowned in white snow during the winter months. The pilgrim pauses for a moment
and quenches his thirst at the vaulted fountain, which faces the gate of the Monastery.
It was built in 1816 in the form of a house of prayer. The marble relief of the
conch bears the words: "O Christ the Word, Transfigured, Saviour, have pity
on those who reside herein. "Christ is the life of this place, and its purpose
is to bring heaven to a little parcel of earth, and to prepare men for their future
life as citizens of heaven.
The gateway to the Monastery is a neo-classical structure, with a fine colonnaded porch. Every period has left its mark here. The iron gate opens at dawn and is locked at sunset. Passing through the vaulted propylon the pilgrim enters the courtyard, where a new world stands revealed, the coming together of the artistic tendencies of a thousand years. Rows of circular arches with decorative brickwork features, corridors and stairways with windows, all in the graceful Byzantine style, look out over the paved courtyard. The Monastery is laid out in the shape of an irregular rectangle. The northern, eastern and southern sides are occupied by three-story buildings, while against the fortified wall of the western side stands the Refectory, an L-shaped building constructed of stone. In the centre of the cluster of buildings, dominating the other structures, stands the Catholikon (main church), which is the heart of monastic life. It was built shortly after 1369 and is an enlarged version of the older and smaller church. It is the first example on Mt. Athos of the evolved type of Athonite Catholikon.
In a conspicuous point in the courtyard stands the Phiale - an octagon of marble with relief panels, white columns and, in the centre, a marble font, where the blessing of the waters takes place. The Phiale was built in 1813 by a talented sculptor from a workshop on the island Tinos. A little farther on, opposite the entrance to the Catholikon, stands the picturesque refectory building. Matthaios, Patriarch of Alexandria built it in 1767, on the site of the earlier wing, which had been destroyed by fire. It has recently been renovated and a number of monks are engaged exclusively in the work of decorating it with paintings.
Within the Church the atmosphere is one of solemn mystery. The elegance of the surroundings blends perfectly with the seriousness of the occasion: the baroque wood-carving of the altar screen, with its undulating zones, the whole surface seeming to vibrate with the rich life of the relief carvings, and the austere wall-paintings of the Cretan School, dating from the 16th century. We first pay homage to the icon of the Lord’s Transfiguration, and then that of the Panagia Stylarini, in which the Virgin enthroned bears the infant Jesus in her arms. This 14th century miracle-working icon comes from Stylari, in Marmaras, where there was a dependency of the Monastery. The local people called the icon "The Healer", for it was said to cure all the ailments of people in the region around, and was held in great esteem. The annex chapel is the place of honour of the household icon of the Monastery, the "Fearsome Protection", painted in the 13th century. The Virgin holds the infant Lord tightly in her embrace, but His face is turned towards the angel who bears the symbols of the Passion. When pirates landed here, intent on plunder, by grace of the icon the Monastery vanished and was spared. Cowering behind barred doors, the monks, their ears ringing with the clamor of voices and firearms from without the walls, were eventually amazed to see that the pirates had left empty-handed. Their only victim was a passer-by whom they had hanged outside the Monastery gate, infuriated at his inability to tell them where the Monastery had gone. Also to be seen here is the Panagia Eleousa, from an old dependency in Serres, long disappeared.
Each afternoon one of the priest-monks brings out the holy relics to be worshipped. Among them is a piece of the True Cross, the foot of Saint Ann (Mother of Virgin Mary), untouched by decay, the hand of St. Gregory the Theologian, the head of St. Alypios, who lived as a hermit for 60 years on a column in the Paphlagonian desert. These were gifts of the Monastery’s first patron, The Great Emperor Alexios Komnenos (1081-1118).
ACCORDING TO ONE SCHOOL OF THOUGHT, the founder of the Monastery was employed in the 11th century in the court of Kutlumus, the head of the Seljuk dynasty of that name in Asia Minor. A more likely theory is that the founder is to be sought among the monastic communities of Palestine in the 11th century, since in one of the old Arab dialects the word Kutlumus denotes the church of Christ the Saviour, to Whom the Catholicon of the Monastery has always been dedicated. The founder of the Monastery was known to later generations as Saint Koutloumousis, "the Chosen and Beloved of God, that most excellent in all things and virtuous Koutloumousis", in the words of the Protos Isaac (14th century). The first signature we have of an abbot of the Koutloumousi Monastery is to be found in a document of 1169, among the signatures of the representatives of 28 Athonite monasteries. At that time, and for another hundred years, the Monastery was in no position to boast of its opulence or its exalted rank in the hierarchy of the Monasteries. Its economic stagnation was exacerbated by the depredations of Franks and Catalans during the period of Frankish rule, and by the brutality of the army of Michael VIII, which descended on Mt. Athos to enforce the union with the Pope which the Greek Emperor had signed in Lyons. Tradition has it that the monks were hanged and their bodies buried behind the Catholikon. Yet their sacrifice was not in vain. In 1263 the Protos of Mt. Athos conceded to Koutloumousi the abandoned Monastery of the Prophet Elias, and later, in 1287, the Monastery of Stavronikita, at that time in a state of dissolution. The Protos at this period was an elected official with administrative jurisdiction over the whole of Mt. Athos. These additions to the Monastery’s assets, together with the progressive temperament and the spiritual struggles of the fathers, led to a period of rapid growth for the Monastery.
However, the pirate raids continued. At the most critical period royal assistance arrived at Koutloumousi in the person of Andronikos II Paleologue, followed shortly after by Theodora Kantakouzini, who wrote: "To those who lead a virtuous life and who do battle so nobly and heroically at the monastery honored with the name of Christ the Saviour, also known as Koutloumousi... I hereby make a gift of the property in Serres known as Eleousa, which I purchased from the Holy Monastery of The Savior and Creator and Pantocrator in Constantinople, glorious to God", stipulating explicitly that none of the provisions of her gift should be altered. In exchange she required that her name be commemorated daily in the holy services and that each year prayers be said for the peace of her soul. The monastic spirit had penetrated into the royal chambers and had touched the hearts of those who shared a sense of the more profound meaning of existence. However, after the fatal blow struck by the Frankish crusaders, the Eastern Roman Empire never recovered its former economic health. The monks of Mt. Athos were obliged to seek help elsewhere.
Hariton of Imbros took over the reins of the Monastery a little before 1362. By vigorous representations to the rulers of Hungary and Wallachia he managed to secure financial assistance in restoring the Monastery, as well as gifts of land. The first benefactors were Alexandros Basarab, and his successor Ioannis Vladislav. The latter, however, insisted that the abbot should abolish the cenobitic system and introduce to the Monastery the new idiorrhythmic rule, which permitted the monks to own personal property and to follow their own daily programme. Such a system well suited the Wallachian monks, who had no tradition of monastic life, and who wished to settle at the Monastery, but without adjusting to the demands of the cenobitic life, with its common spiritual and economic organization. Hariton wrote that "the cenobitic life is heaven on earth, and the allotted fate of the fathers". Finally, however, financial hardship left him no alternative but to yield, in sadness of heart, and to introduce the idiorrhythmic system, but on the inviolable condition that Koutloumousi should remain a Greek monastery.
Another result of these relations was the profound influence exerted by the Greek culture on the spiritual life of the Danubian provinces. It was no coincidence that the Ecumenical Patriarch St. Philotheos Kokkinos appointed Hariton Metropolitan of Hungary and Wallachia, while he continued to carry out his duties as abbot of his Monastery.
In 1393 the Patriarch Antonios proclaimed Koutloumousi a Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery. This meant that it now enjoyed the care and protection of the Patriarch, and was free from interference or influence from any secular power. A similar freedom was conveyed in the imperial golden bulls, by virtue of which the Monasteries are honoured with the appellation of "royal". By and large this privileged status was respected even by the Ottoman rulers. And so, in the following centuries, the Monastery was free to enjoy a course of steady growth and prosperity, by 1574 ascending to occupy sixth position in the hierarchical ranking of the Athonite monasteries.
However, the consequences of the disintegration of the Roman Empire were not easy to bear: an economic crisis brought on by the burden of taxation and the confiscation of monastic estates, a decline in the number of monks. Fortunately in due course the Monasteries succeeded in placing all their civil affairs under the direct authority of the Sultan. At the same time Koutloumousi was able to maintain enclaves of the faith and rallying points for the enslaved Greek people at its dependencies in Serres, on Andros, Imbros, Samos, Limnos, at Marmaras, in Sithonia, Crete and even in Slatina in Romania. Monks were also dispatched as priests to serve the thriving Greek communities of central Europe. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Monastery had to rely exclusively on the support of pious Greeks. The end of the 18th century brought distinction to the Monastery in the work of the most distinguished figure in the modern history of Koutloumousi, the scholar Bartholomew of Imbros, teacher and editor of the liturgical books.
In the mid-19th century the Monastery was subjected to a new ordeal, owing to the new expansionist policy of the Russians. An attempt was made in 1856 by instruments of the new Russian policy to impose a Russian identity on the Monastery. Their plans, which had succeeded at the Monastery of St. Panteleimon, came to nothing in the case of Koutloumousi, thanks to the indivisible sense of fellowship binding the monks. This year was a milestone for another reason, too: as the result of a unanimous petition addressed by the monks to the Ecumenical Patriarch, the Monastery returned to its original cenobitic rule. It was at this time that a fire reduced the northern wing of the Monastery to ashes. The priest-monk Meletios, distinguished for his virtue and administrative talents, travelled with the blessing of the Patriarchate as far as Russia, western Europe and even America, with letters from the Monastery seeking financial support. He was successful enough to be able to finance the restoration of the northern wing, but his project of a further construction was interrupted by his demise.
In the wake of the Second World War the Monastery was afflicted by an alarming decline in the number of monks. The ravages of time and the almost total loss of the Monastery’s assets in land, jeopardized its very existence. But eventually the will of God manifested itself in the survival and gradual recovery of the Monastery’s fortunes. It has not of course been a road entirely without obstacles and setbacks: in 1980 the eastern wing was burned, while torrential rains caused landslides and cracks in the Monastery buildings. But God never subjects us to temptation and trial without providing also the necessary patience to endure, and to await the final happy outcome.
THE DAYS AND NIGHTS of the monks are divided between communal worship, private prayer and study, the chores of the Monastery and relaxation, the latter determined with reference to the stamina of the individual. The monk’s striving for oneness with God commences each day at 2 in the morning, in his cell; at 3 am the service in church begins: Midnight Prayers, Matins, Hours, Divine Liturgy. The life of worship follows a ritual pattern established over the centuries and adjusted to the particular conditions of each Monastery.
THE MONASTERY COMMUNITY today numbers thirty monks, while some forty others live in the dependencies of the Monastery. Despite numerous trials and tribulations, and thanks to the support of pious Christians, the Monastery is now on the road of recovery. The new innovations are still guided by the spirit of the traditional rules, while the future of the Monastery is now confronted with a new dynamism, inspired by the spirit of renewal at work in the Orthodox Tradition. The icon painters in the Monastery workshop continue to follow the Byzantine models of the Cretan School. And the old art of calligraphy is still cultivated, faithful to the old tradition, as far as the daily workload of the monks permits. Meanwhile the Monastery, as we pass through a time which tends to ignore the life of the spirit, has been at work building bridges by means of which the Orthodox message can be conveyed, offering old wine in new bottles. First and foremost, however, it perseveres in its main task, that of prayer, the liturgical and mystical reference of all things to God.
This text is cited Apr 2003 from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople URL below.
MONI PANTOKRATOROS (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23253, 23685, 23880
Fax: +30 23770 23685
The monastery is built by the sea, in the N.E. side of the peninsula and is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Saviour. The Katholicon follows the athonite type and has frescoes of the 14th c. that were painted over in 1845. The monastery has 15 chapels, the most important of which is that of the Dormition of Virgin. Among the Kellia of the monastery, the most important are of the Ravdouchou, possibly of the 10th c. and the Dormition of the Virgin, named Axion Esti after the namesake icon. The Skete of Prophet Elias belongs also to the monastery.
The monastery's founders were two byzantine officials, Alexios and Ioannis, who in mid 14th c. with the support of the emperor Ioannis 5th Paleologus, transformed their cell into a monastery. After the fall of the empire, the monastery is financially supported by rulers of eastern Europe. Two destructive fires took place in 1773 and recently in 1948.
The monastery possesses a large collection of portable icons, ecclesiastical vessels and heirlooms, while in the library there are 350 manuscripts and over 3,500 books.
The monastery is inhabited by a brotherhood of 25 monks.
MONI STAVRONIKITA (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23255
Fax: +30 23770 23255
It is one of the smallest monasteries of the Holy Mountain following however the traditional architecture, with the Katholicon in the middle, the Refectory on the first floor of the southern wing and many chapels as well as a built aqueduct which supplies the monastery with water. South of the Katholicon rises the defensive tower, while around the monastery there are several auxiliary buildings and the arsenal.
The Patriarch Jermiah I founded the monastery in 1540, in the place of an older monastery which was already in existence in the beginning of the 11th century. The Patriarch also caused to be built the Katholicon, which its frescoes as well as the refectory and the chapel of St John the Precursor with their frescoes. Several restorations have been made during the 18th century as well as presently.
The monastery's library possesses a large number of richly illuminated manuscripts and liturgical scrolls. Apart from the frescoes in the Katholicon and the refectory, in Theophane's group of pupils is also attributed the Dodekaorton icons, while the mosaic icon of St Nicholas is one of the rarest examples of this kind.
These last years, the monastery was almost entirely restored by the Archaeological Service.
A large number of active monks inhabits today the monastery and provides for the resatoration of the buildings as well as the hospitality to pilgrims and scholars.
MONI VATOPEDIOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 41488, 23283
Fax: +30 23770 41462
The monastery was built during the second half of the 10th century, by three monks, Athanasius, Nicholas and Antonius from Adrinople, who were the pupils of St. Athanasius of Lavra. From then onwards several buildings have been constructed, but the most important ones, were those built during the Byzantine period, and on the 18th as well as the 19th century, when the monastery reached its highest peak.
It is a large monumental monastery surrounded by a tall wall, with its buildings set on Triangle. Inside the spacious courtyard, there is the central church, the cross-formed refectory and several chapels. Inside the central church one can see the only existing mosaics in the Holy Mountain, while its frescoes, painted around 1312, are attributed to the painter Manuel Panselinos from Thessaloniki.
About 50 monks live today in the monastery, where is applied an extensive construction project in order to restore the larger buildings.
Apart from the frescoes and the masaics, the monastery has in its possession a large number of unique portable icons, manuscripts and religious objects.
It is open to all the world scientists, which, however, must first contact the monastery and the 10th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities.
MONI XENOFONTOS (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23249, 23633
Fax: +30 23770 23631
It is built by the sea, between the monasteries of Docheiariou and St Panteleimonos, and is dedicated to St George. The Katholicon is built in the early 18th c. and has no frescoes. In the old Katholicon, there are remarkable frescoes of the Cretan painter Antonius (1544) as well as the wooden-curved templum of the 17th c. The monastery possesses 14 chapels, 8 of which are inside the monastery.
The monastery is mentioned for the first time in the last quarter of the 11th c. Its period of prosperity is interrupted by the fall of Constantinople. Afterwards, the monastery is alternatively destroyed and rebuilt with the financial aid from the rulers of eastern Europe.
Among the heirlooms of the monastery, the most prized are the two mosaic icons with the Transfiguration of Christ, ecclesiastical vessels and others. In the library there are 300 manuscripts, various documents and over 4,000 books.
The monastery is inhabited by a brotherhood of 35 monks.
MONI ZOGRAFOU (Monastery) AGION OROS
Tel: +30 23770 23273, 23247
The monastery is situated on a slope of the S.W. part of the peninsula and is dedicated to St George. The Katholicon was built in the beginning of the last century and follows the athonite type. The monastery has eight chapels inside and eight chapels outside of it. The monastery also owns two workshops in Karyes and the Kelliou of Transfiguration.
The monastery was founded, according to tradition, in the 10th c. by three brothers, Moses, Aaron and Ioannis from Achris. In the Late Byzantine period, the monastery is destroyed by Catalan pirates and rebuilt with the financial support of the Paleologan dynasty, as well as that of rulers of eastern Europe. Initially, the monastery was inhabited by Bulgarians, Greeks and Serbs. Since 1845 there are only Bulgarian monks.
Besides two miraculous icons of St George and other two of the Virgin of the Akathistos and the Virgin Epakouousa, the monastery owns and other heirlooms and ecclesiastical vessels.
The library contains 126 greek and 388 slavic manuscripts, and over 8,000 books.
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