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Pantokrator PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 December 2006

Pantokrator monastery is located on the eastern side of the peninsula and is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Our Lord. It was founded by Alexios the Stratopedarch and John the Primikerios. Its operation most likely started in 1363. 

normal_pantokratoros3.jpgIt occupies the seventh rank in the hierarchical order of the twenty monasteries on the Mount Athos. It is inhabited by 66 monks (1990) and is coenobitic (communal). The coenobitic skete of Prophet Elijah belongs to the monastery of Pantokrator. 

The monastery's katholikon is small, due to a lack of space. It is built in the traditional style with one slight irregularity, that is, the distance between the choirs of the cantors and the sanctuary is unusually great. The church features wall-paintings from artists of the Macedonian School and certain parts were restored in 1854. Besides the katholikon the monastery features eight chapels.

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 December 2006 )
Zographou PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 December 2006

Zograf Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos. It was traditionally founded in the late 9th or early 10th century by three Bulgarians from Ohrid and is regarded as the historical Bulgarian monastery on Mount Athos, and it is traditionally inhabited by Bulgarian Orthodox monks.


normal_zografou-aeros.jpgThe monastery's name is derived from a 13th or 14th century icon of Saint George that is believed to have not been painted by a human hand and to possess wonder-working powers.


The earliest written evidence of the monastery's existence dates from 980.

The Zograf Monastery was plundered and burnt down by Crusaders, working under orders from the Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos, in 1275, resulting in the death of 26 monks. These included the igumen Thomas. The reason for this attack was the opposition of the monks to the Union of Lyons, which the Emperor had supported for political reasons. Since the emperor could not attack the Greek monks without incurring the wrath of his own people, he vented his frustration on the Slavic monks. Having hanged the Protos (the elected president of Mount Athos), and having killed many monks in Vatopedi, Iveron and other monasteries, the Latins attacked Zographou. Their martyrdom is commemorated annually on October 10 (October 23 on the Gregorian Calendar) throughout the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Mercenaries of the Catalan Grand Company raided the Holy Mountain for two years (1307–9), sacking many monasteries, plundering the treasures of Christendom, and terrorising the monks. Of the 300 monasteries on Athos at the beginning of the 14th century, only 35 were left by the end. But the monastery recovered quickly with the help of grants and support from the Palaeologue Emperors and the princes of the Danubian Principalities.

Since 1997 Ambrosias is the Abbot of the monastery and it’s inhabited by approximately 12 monks.

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 December 2006 )
Xiropotamou PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 December 2006

The Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou  is in the South-East of the Athos peninsula at a walking distance of 2 hours by feet from Daphni.

normal_IMG_0226.jpgXeropotamou is one of the oldest  monasteries one Mount Athos, but its early history remains obscure. Oral tradition identifies  the Empress Pulcheria as a founder of the monastery, who lived in the 5th century, while another version regards the founders as the 10th century Emperors Constantine VI Porphyrogennetus and Romanus I Lecapenus.

In the manuscripts and various documents there is some obscurity about the name of the Monastery and the personality of Blessed Paul, probably Xeropotamou's principal founder. Paul was an ascetic who was highly respected on the Mount Athos, according to the myth he was the son of Michael I Rhanghaves.

The Monastery flourished until the 13th century, when in the years of Frankish rule, it suffered from financial difficulties and pirate raids. However, it soon obtained the assistance of Byzantine Emperors, particularly after the fire of 1280, and with donations and chrysobulls rights of ownership of the Monastery was consolidated (13th - 14th centuries). Other donations from the principalities of Wallachia and Hungro-Walachia were the means of renewal and prolonged prosperity in the life of Xeropotamou, and among its benefactors must be numbered the Sultan Selim I. Like the other monasteries, Xeropotamou has had periods of decline. Two catastrophic fires in the early 16th and 17th centuries and the burden of debt in the 18th brought it to a low point. Between 1821 and 1830 the Monastery was occupied by Turkish troops, while in more modern times, in 1950 and 1973, it was again damaged by fires.

Today the Monastery of Xeropotamou occupies eighth place in the hierarchy of coenobia. In its ownership are the port of Dafni and its six cells. The Monastery has seven chapels inside its precinct and nine outside.

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 December 2006 )
Xenophontos PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 December 2006

The Holy Monastery of Xenophontos stands on the western shore of the peninsula, between the Monasteries of Docheiariou and St Panteleimon. Its founder was St Xenophon, who was the monastery’s Abbot.

normal_xenofondos45.jpgDue to it’s proximity to the sea shore Xenophontos was frequently the object of pirate raids. In the 13th century it was devastated by Latin pirates. During the period of Turkish rule it was supported by wealthy Christians of Vlach descent

During the 16th century the majority of the monks were Slavs. In the following century it owed huge sums to a syndicate of Jews and it lead to it’s financial collapse. In the 18th century the Monastery was re-established, the enthusiastic Abbot Paοsios of Lesvos added new buildings and brought new life to the Monastery. This was finished by the time of the outbreak of the Greek Revolution in 1821.

The old Katholikon is on the southern side of the Monastery decorated with Early Christian symbols. Its construction dates back to the 11th century, although there have been subsequent additions: it was adorned with a wooden sanctuary screen in 17th century and its wall-paintings were repainted.

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 December 2006 )
Great Lavra PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 December 2006

The Monastery of Great Lavra is the first monastery built on Mount Athos. It is located on the southeastern foot of the Mount at an elevation of 160 metres. The founding of the monastery in AD 963 by Athanasius the iera moni agias lauras.jpgAthonite marks the beginning of the organized monastic life at Mount Athos. At the location of the monastery, there was one of the ancient cities of the Athos peninsula, perhaps Akrothooi, from which the sarcophaguses of the monastery that are in the oil storage house come from. The history of the monastery is the most complete in comparison with the history of the other monasteries, because its historical archives were preserved almost intact. It is possible that the study of these archives may contribute to the completion of the knowledge of the history of other monasteries, whose archives were partially or all of them lost.


The most important of all the other chapels are these of Saint George, Saint Athanasios and of Virgin Koukouzelissa. The Phiale, the basin for the blessing of the waters stands outside the main entrance of the Katholikon. It is the oldest and the biggest in Athos. Just opposite the entrance of the Katholikon is the refectory, frescoed by Cretan painters.


The library of the monastery is located behind the main church. It contains 2,116 Greek manuscripts and 165 codeces. Among them uncial manuscripts of the New Testament: Codex Coislinianus, Codex Athous Lavrentis, Uncial 049, and Uncial 0167. There are also over 20,000 printed books, and about 100 manuscripts in other languages. The collection is one of the richest collections of Greek manuscripts in the world.


The vestry is behind the main church. Some of the most important artifacts are a manuscript of a gospel with a golden cover which is a gift from Nikephoros II Phokas and the list (Kouvaras) of the monks since Athanasius. There are also 2,500 icons which cover the whole history of hagiography of the second millennium.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 October 2008 )
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