The cell of St.
John Chrysostom belonging to the monastery
of Hilandar is located on a lonely hill. As well as
many other Athos cells it had been constructed centuries ago presumably in XII
century. Names of the Russian elders inhabiting the cell in the XVIII century
are Matvey, Nektary and Anfim, monks Nikifor and Rafail.
Father Kyrillos made
it possible to arrange a cell with 90 inhabitants and a guest house for
pilgrims with 150 places. With the permission of the monastery
of Hilandar father Kyrill built a magnificent two-storied temple dedicated to
St. John Chrysostom with Alexander Nevsky and Maria Magdalene side-altars in the
memory of the wonderful rescue of the Imperial family in Borkah. The temple constructed
on the superior’s project became an embellishment of the Sacred Mountain.
The temple had
been consecrated on January, 13th, 1894 by the archbishop Agafangel, Serbian
Metropolitan Mikhail who knew father Kyrillos in person sent the superior a
letter where he expressed a regret that could not take part in consecration of
the temple. The metropolitan already visited the cell when he came to the Mount
Athos to see the elder Kyrillos.
The cell had
iconographic workshop and photographic laboratory in its possession. It was well-known for its creamery where sagy, laurel, melissa
and most importantly olive oils used in lamps were produced. The organisation
of the cell’s oil manufacture was
important because in Constantinople and then and in Russia dishonest merchants were
selling the oil mixed with kerosene, gasoline
instead of natural fragrant oil. The Manufacture of pure natural oil became the
main means of maintenance of the cell.
For the short term
of the existence the cell got some rare manuscripts in its library among them
are the missal written by St. Theodosius and some Ethiopian manuscripts on parchment.
In the beginning
of the XX century a cell possessed two honoured icons: The Spanish Virgin Mary
and St. John Chrysostom.
In the end of the
XIX century in Russia there was and unprecedented
campaign for struggle against Russian Athos monks. They were portrayed as the swindlers plundering the people.
Unfortunately the government had the same view point.
A pilgrim who had
visited a cell emphasized the
solemnity of the liturgy in the cell. The Saturday liturgy was performed by the superior: «Of an average height,
slender, he was motionless in all
greatness of his vestment with a shining cross on his breast
and with a prayer on his lips and his deep ardent look directed to the sacred
altar. He was surrounded by celibate
priests, monks and choristers similar to angels, rather than people».
The cell of father
Kyrillos is named in «the Church Bulletin» a monument of Russian patriotism on
the St. Mountain: «Possessing well organised iconographic school it spreads its
art across Russia and understanding Siberia’s need in accomplishment of its spiritual
life in the area of a great railway way valuable icons for the churches and schools were
sent by the cell, for what they had received the Highest gratitude from the Siberian committee...
The inhabitants of
the cell actively took up the
problems of slavic unity. One of the reasons
of the election of father Kyrillos on a post of a superior of the brotherhood was that he was
«the most active and convinced supporter of necessity of brotherly connection
of Athos monks of all slavic nationalities».
Nowadays a cell of St. John Chrysosotom that survived terrible years of suppression of Orthodoxy is delapidated.
The crones of the Athos
woods have bashfully hidden the
humiliated position of the cell. There are no icons, no window frames or any
doors. The ladder of a three-storied building of a temple has no steps and is ready to fall off. The building
ground floor was a shelter for mules.
The temple floor
is covered by the semidecayed Russian books. They are left to decay there as it is strictly forbidden to take them out.