dedicated to the Ascension of
Christ. It is built
next to the sea at the northern part of the Athonite peninsula near the
Hilandar Monastery. Esphigmenou is
the most populous monastery in
Athos. The monastery's name
translates to Greek literally as tightened. The name is attributed to
the monk that either founded or renovated the monastery.
It recounts that he used to wear a tight rope around his waist therefore the
monastery got the name "of the
monastery greatly prospered until
the Ottoman conquest. Many Byzantine emperors, such as John V Palaiologue, contributed to this, as
well as leaders of other orthodox
states such as Stefan Uroš
IV Dušan of Serbia and George,
Prince of Rascia.
This prosperity was however shrouded
by constant disputes over land issues with the neighboring Vatopediou monastery, as well as many pirate raids
and two great fires that damaged the monastery
during the 14th century. Due to the above reasons
the monastery was eventually ruined and practically deserted which
allowed the nearby monasteries of Hilandar and Zograf to
grab various portions of land from it, which lead to further legal disputes.The
rulers of the Danubian
Principalities also made significant contributions to the monastery. During the early 18th century the bishop
Gregory of Melenikon made donations to it and eventually become one of its
monks, undertaking a renovation of the monastery.
Also, the bishop Daniel of Thessaloniki took care of the monastery's finances and, with the consent of the
Athonite community and Patriarch Gerasimus III of Constantinople, made the monastery
a cenobium. A series of competent
abbots (Acacius, Euthymius, Theodoritus and Agathangellus) greatly renovated
and expanded the monastery, to the
point that the current structures date almost exclusively from their time.
Treasures held within the monastery
a large collection of manuscripts. Its library houses 372 manuscripts, a
collection of roughly 2000 printed books, while 6000 more are also housed in
another part of the monastery, at
the second floor of the northern wing. It also has
the left leg of Maria Magdalene, the Cross of St. Pulcheria.
Miracle-working icons within the monastery
Our Lady Eleousa. Theotokos is depicted enthroned and holding Baby Jesus
who is blessing with his right hand and in his left hand he’s handing a scroll.
Theotokos is surrounded with cherubs. The icon is signed by Ioann Maxim in
The icon of Our Lord (Pantokratoras). A mosaic
icon is depicting Jesus in his full height. The icon is in a silver ark which
contains inscription “Remember Your slave Grigorios Smaragda, his parents and