skete is a coenobic one. It belongs to the Vatopaidi monastery
and is located on its territory.
The skete was initially a secluded cell named after Antonios
the Great built in the XII on the territory of the monastery
of Vatopaidi. The founder of the skete was
the Ecumenical Patriarch Athanasios
Petergary who came to the Mount Athos to end his days there. One hundred years
after another Ecumenical Patriarch Seraphim bought the land and built a
three-storey cell with two chapels: the Protection of the Theotokos and St.
cell was so beautiful that people
gave it a name “saray” meaning “palace”. In the XIX century the Russian monks
Vissarion and Varsanofios bought that land.
skete was inaugurated in 1849. Since
that time the skete began to flourish, the new buildings were constructed, the
new monks arrived. Greeks still call the skete “a palace” for its beauty and
named after Apostle Andrey is one of the biggest cathedrals on the Balkans. Its
length is 60 meters,
width – 29 meters,
overall area is 2100
square meters. The katholikon is built of granite and has 150 windows. The
shrine with the relics of 70 saints including the head of St. Andrew is to be
found inside the katholikon. The height of the belfry is 37 meters with maximum
bell’s height of 5 tones. The katholikon design can be classified
as Byzantium-Gothic. It was constructed in 1891-1900 by the Russian architect
M.A. Schurupov on the funds of Great Prince Alexei Alexandrovich.
revolution the skete was inhabited
by 800 monks, it possessed a printing-house, a pharmacy and a smithy serving the
whole Mount Athos.
changed after 1917, Russian monks were not arriving to live there, there was no one to support it in the monetary terms. In 1958 a fire destroyed the skete’s western wing
alongside with 20 000 books, manuscripts and the unique archive. In 1972 the last Russian monk, father Samson died and the skete
In the end of
XX century the Greek monks came here, in 2001 father Ephraim became the Abbot
of the skete. Nowadays the brotherhood has
area is bigger than that of the majority of athonite monasteries.
It’s stateness is not diminished by the dilapidated constructions which are now
being reconstructed by the monastery
Treasures held within the
main treasure is the head of Apostle