Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi on
the Mount Athos was built during the second half of the 10th century,
by three monks, Athanasius, Nicholas, and Antonius from Adrianople, who were the pupils of Athanasius the Athonite. A
legendary tradition says that its construction was
ordered in the 4th century by Eastern Roman Emperor Arcadius to
honour the miraculous salvation by the Virgin Mary of his son from a shipwreck. The child is said to have
been found in a brier bush -- hence vatos
- βάτος "brier" and paidi
- παιδί "child".
100 monks live in the monastery
today, where extensive construction projects are underway to restore the larger
buildings. The monastery is open to
Treasures held within the monastery
Monastery of Vatopedi holds a belt
held by believers to be the actual belt of the Theotokos, which she wore on
earth and gave to Thomas the Apostole after her death and during her transition to heaven. The silver and jewel-encrusted reliquary containing
the skull of St.
John Chrysostom is kept in the Monastery
and is credited by Eastern Orthodox
Christians with miraculous healings. The monastery
also contains the Iaspis, a chalice fashioned of a single piece of the precious stone jasper, and numerous icons.
library preserves a medieval royal charter, the 13th-century Vatopedi
Charter of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria dedicated
to the monastery. It was
discovered in the monastery's
archives in 1929.
Miracle-working icons within the monastery
are four icons of the Mother of God considered
to be miracle-working: Elaiovrytissa, Ktetorissa (Vimatarissa), Esphagmeni, and
Queen of All) is a miraculous icon depicting the Theotokos enthroned and holding her son.
holy and miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary was
brought to the Vatopedi monastery by
the blessed elder Joseph (who
is still alive) from Nea Skete. The first record of the icon's miraculous powers is
from the witness of Elder Joseph. One day a young man from Cyprus went to
visit and entered into the church. At that point, the elder witnessed a glowing
light radiating from the face of the Theotokos and an invisible power pushed
the young man down to the ground. When the young man had recovered from his
fall, he began to repent and weep and confessed that he did not believe and was a participant in the black arts. He changed his
life and became an Orthodox Christian.
icon is also known for working many miracles, especially healing people with cancer. There are
many recent records of people who have been healed from cancer after
participating in the Supplicatory Canon to
the Pantanassa at the monastery.
Paramythia, the Vatopedi
Mother of Consolation,
or Comfort is
an 8th century miraculous icon of
the Virgin Mary.
the monastery, the son of Emperor
Theodosius the Great fell off a ship and into the sea. By miraculous
intercession of the Mother of God, he was
carried safely to shore unharmed and found sleeping in a bush, not far from the
Vatopedi monastery. This is the
event that defined the name of the monastery
(Vato + paidi,
derived from "Batos paidion", the bush
of the child).
tradition tells us that the original expression on the faces of the figures and
the position of the bodies of Christ and the Blessed Virgin changed when the
following strange miracle occurred, January 21, 807:
Pirates had secretly landed on the shore of the monastery and were hiding, waiting for the
gates to open in the morning in order to launch an attack on the monastery of Vatopedi. The Abbot, who had remained behind after
the end of Matins in order to continue his prayer, heard these words from the
icon of the Blessed Virgin:
not open the gates of the Monastery
today, but go up on the walls and drive away the pirates."
he turned to look, he saw the Theotokos turned towards her right shoulder and
looking at him, while the Holy child was
stretching out His hand to cover the mouth of His mother saying,
Mother, do not watch over this sinful flock, let them fall under the swore of
the pirates and be punished as they
the Blessed Virgin, taking Her Son's hand in Hers and turning Her head a little
to free her mouth, repeating the same words.
icon is a wall-painting and is on the right choir of the chapel named after it. In memory of this miraculous event a perpetual lamp
burns in front of the wonderworking icon. Every day a Canon of Supplication is
chanted in honour of the icon and on Fridays the Divine Liturgy is celebrated.