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Monday, 08 January 2007

St. Andrew skete is a coenobic one. It belongs to the Vatopaidi monastery and is located on its territory.


skiti_agiou_andreou_1.jpgThe 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. Andrew’s.


Seraphim’s 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.


The renowned 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 inspiring sight.


The katholikon 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.


Before the revolution the skete was inhabited by 800 monks, it possessed a printing-house, a pharmacy and a smithy serving the whole Mount Athos.


But everything 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 stayed empty.


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 15 monks.


The skete’s 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 of Vatopaidi.



Treasures held within the skete


The skete’s main treasure is the head of Apostle Andrey.



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 10 January 2007 )
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