Holy Monastery of Philotheou stands
among chestnut trees on a plateau on the north-eastern
side of the peninsula, near the ancient Temple of Asclepius. It was founded by the Blessed Philotheus around the end
of the 10th century.
Among the Byzantine Emperors who made donations to the
Monastery are Nicephorus
Botaneates in the 11th century, Andronicus II, Andronicus III, John V in the
late 13th and in the 14th century. Among Serbian princes, Stefan Dushan (1346)
helped to provide the manpower for the Monastery.
During the early years of Turkish rule, in the early 16th century, the Abbot
Dionysios, known as the Blessed
Dionysios of Olympus, succeeded in turning it from an idiorrhythmic into a
coenobitic monastery. However, the
reaction of Bulgarian-speaking monks was
such that he was forced to leave the
Monastery. In about the mid 17th
century, the Tsars of Russia gave permission to the monks to go there every
seven years on alms missions. Grigorios Ghikas
was one of the Monastery's best known benefactors.
six chapels and three outlying chapels. Of its 12 kellia, half are now
Treasures kept within the monastery
The right hand of St John Chrysostom, a piece of the
True Cross, other relics of saints, vestments, and sacred vessels. The library
contains 250 manuscripts, two liturgical scrolls, and about 2,500 printed books
(of which some 500 are in Russian and Romanian). The Monastery
is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, and since 1574 it has occupied twelfth place among the Athonite monastic foundations. Since 1973 its has followed the coenobitic system. At present it has about 60 monks.
Our Lady Glykophilousa. It is believed that the icon was painted by Apostle Luke on the both sides. The
outer side of the icon depicts Theotokos gently kissing Baby Jesus with joy and
the inner side depicts Crucifixion. According to the myth, in the Age of
Iconoclasm (726-842) the icon was
thrown in the sea by pious Victoria, the wife of patrician Simeon. The monks found it by the
monastery’s berth where a spring is
located since then.
Our Lady Gerontissa According to the myth the icon was
miraculously transferred to the monastery
from the city of Nigrita.