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Friday, 22 December 2006

Esphigmenou monastery  dedicated to the Ascension of Christ. It is built next to the sea at the northern part of the Athonite peninsula near the Hilandar Monastery. Esphigmenou is the most populous monastery in Athos. The monastery's name translates to Greek literally as tightened. The name is attributed to the monk that either founded or renovated the monastery. It recounts that he used to wear a tight rope around his waist therefore the monastery got the name "of the tightened”.


normal_esfigm.jpgThe monastery greatly prospered until the Ottoman conquest. Many Byzantine emperors, such as John V Palaiologue, contributed to this, as well as leaders of other orthodox states such as Stefan Uroš IV Dušan of Serbia and George, Prince of Rascia. This prosperity was however shrouded by constant disputes over land issues with the neighboring Vatopediou monastery, as well as many pirate raids and two great fires that damaged the monastery during the 14th century. Due to the above reasons the monastery was eventually ruined and practically deserted which allowed the nearby monasteries of Hilandar and Zograf to grab various portions of land from it, which lead to further legal disputes.The rulers of the Danubian Principalities also made significant contributions to the monastery. During the early 18th century the bishop Gregory of Melenikon made donations to it and eventually become one of its monks, undertaking a renovation of the monastery. Also, the bishop Daniel of Thessaloniki took care of the monastery's finances and, with the consent of the Athonite community and Patriarch Gerasimus III of Constantinople, made the monastery a cenobium. A series of competent abbots (Acacius, Euthymius, Theodoritus and Agathangellus) greatly renovated and expanded the monastery, to the point that the current structures date almost exclusively from their time. 

Treasures held within the monastery

The monastery has a large collection of manuscripts. Its library houses 372 manuscripts, a collection of roughly 2000 printed books, while 6000 more are also housed in another part of the monastery, at the second floor of the northern wing. It also has the left leg of Maria Magdalene, the Cross of St. Pulcheria.


Miracle-working icons within the monastery


eleousa.JPGOur Lady Eleousa. Theotokos is depicted enthroned and holding Baby Jesus who is blessing with his right hand and in his left hand he’s handing a scroll. Theotokos is surrounded with cherubs. The icon is signed by Ioann Maxim in 1673.










pantXrs.jpgThe icon of Our Lord (Pantokratoras). A mosaic icon is depicting Jesus in his full height. The icon is in a silver ark which contains inscription “Remember Your slave Grigorios Smaragda, his parents and children”.



Last Updated ( Friday, 29 December 2006 )
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