agio-oros

Mount Athos

Mount Athos is located on the peninsula of Mount Athos with a height of 2033 meters. From 1926 AD. constitutes self-governing part of the Greek state and the spiritual capital of Orthodoxy. Often is referred to as “AVATON” and according to the law, the entrance of women there, is explicitly forbidden.

“The Orchard of Holy Mary”

Today in the monastic state, there are:

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Monasteries
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Hermitages
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Cels
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Monks

According to the history, the Virgin Mary traveled with Saint John the Evangelist to Cyprus. The moment that the ship was sailing into the peninsula of Mount Athos, it began to fill with water. Thus, the ship was forced to drop anchor in front of the Iveron monastery, as it is called nowadays. The Virgin immediately recognized the beauty and energy of the area and asked from Jesus to create her garden there. Suddenly a voice was heard saying, "Let this place be your heritage and your garden. A paradise for those who desire the salvation of the soul." From that moment, the mountain was named "Orchard of Holy Mary", was dedicated to the mother of Christ and all women were barred from entering.

In 50 AD., Halkidiki embraces Christianity with the arrival of the Apostle Paul. At the same time, Saint Peter the Athonite was anointed as first monk. It is said that during the 53 years of his ascetism, he didn’t meet anyone and after his death, his fragrant body attracted the next ascetics.

In 860 AD., the first monasteries are founded on Mount Athos. One near Ierissos and the other near arsana of M. Chiliandari by Ioannis Kolovos and Osios Vassilios respectively. In 885 AD., with one imperial gold bull and its golden seal, Basil I of Macedon, proclaims the Mount as a place exclusively for male monks. In this state of monks, in 934 AD., as a center of administrative responsibilities is defined the point that is now called Karyes. In 942 AD. the demarcation takes place between the monks and the Ierissians, with Libra being the natural border.

In 963 AD., the first, largest and most important Monastery of Great Lavras was built, with the support of the emperor Nikiforos Fokas. In an era of economic and religious development and Halkidiki to be part of the Byzantium, another 19 monasteries were built.

In 1748 AD., the Athoniada Academy was founded, which is a theological and philosophical school until today. In 1988 A.D., Mount Athos became UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its special value worldwide. As UNESCO characteristically mentions the Mount Athos is a huge wealth of history, religion, culture and art heritage. The calendar that the monks follow is the Julian, which differs by an extra 13 days from the Gregorian calendar, as well as the Byzantine hour.

Holy Monasteries - Religious Tourism

Holy Monastery of Megisti Lavra

It was built in 963 AD. and is the first, largest and most important monastery of the Mount Athos. It was founded by Athanasios Athonitis with the support of the emperor Nikiforos Fokas. Here a new architectural style of the temple was discovered, and it was named "Mount Athos". Today, 2050 manuscripts and more than 30,000 printed books are kept in the Holy Monastery, while is inhabited approximately by 80 monks and is celebrated in July the 18th (Julian Calendar).

Holy Monastery of Vatopedi

It was built in 972 AD. on the ruins of an older monastery by students of Athanasios of Athonitis. It took its name from the Arcadian son of the emperor Theodosius who was saved by a miracle of the Virgin Mary and was found under a bush (bush + child = Vatopedi), when the ship sank. Today in the Holy Monastery are kept 2.000 manuscripts and more than 40.000 printed books, while is inhabited approximately by 135 monks and is celebrated in April the 7th (Julian Calendar).

Holy Monastery of Iveron

It was built in 972 AD. on the ruins of an older monastery by students of Athanasios of Athonitis. It took its name from the Arcadian son of the emperor Theodosius who was saved by a miracle of the Virgin Mary and was found under a bush (bush + child = Vatopedi), when the ship sank. Today in the Holy Monastery are kept 2.000 manuscripts and more than 40.000 printed books, while is inhabited approximately by 135 monks and is celebrated in April the 7th (Julian Calendar).

Holy Monastery of Philotheos

It was built in 992 AD. by Saint Philotheos. Today in the Holy Monastery are kept the icon of Holy Mary the “Glykophilousa” and two scrolls containing the Divine Liturgy of the Great Vasilios. About 80 monks live there and it is celebrated in April the 7th (Julian Calendar – holiday of the Annunciation of the Virgin).

Zograf monastery

Holy Monastery of Zografou

It was built around 1.000 AD. from the brothers Aaron, Moses and John from Archida and the support of the king Leo the Wise. The three brothers one day while they were rebuilding the monastery, left a plank and when they returned from their prayer, they became witnesses to a miracle. On the plank was depicted the figure of St. George and so the Holy Monastery celebrates in May the 6th in his honor (Julian Calendar – feast St. George the painter). Today in the Monastery are kept Slavic and Greek manuscripts and is inhabited by 55 monks.

Holy Monastery of Esfigmenos

It was built around 1000 AD. and in its library, 372 manuscripts and about 8.000 books are kept. It also has various relics of Saints as well as the cross of Empress Poulcheria. Today, about 125 monks live in the Monastery and celebrates the Ascension of the Lord.

Holy Monastery of Xenophon

It was built in 1070 AD. and unfortunately suffered several disasters over the years. The impressive catholic of the Monastery is decorated with the mosaic icons of the Saint George and Saint Dimitrios. Today in the Holy Monastery, 300 manuscripts and about 4.000 printed books and pieces of pure wood are kept. The monastery is inhabited by about 45 monks and is celebrated in May the 6th (Julian Calendar - feast of St. George).

Holy Monastery of Konstamonitos

The foundations of the Monastery were laid from Constantine the Great in 300 to 330 AD. but completely was built in 1.086 AD. The icons of the Virgin “Οδηγήτρια” are kept in the monastery “Antifonitrias”, as well as the icon of Saint Stefan and about 110 manuscripts. Today, it is inhabited by 45 monks, while the St. Constantine and Helen are celebrated there on the 3rd of June, according to Julian calendar.

Holy Monastery of Koutloumousi

It was built in 1.000 to 1.100 AD. and has a wood-carved altarpiece that is among the best of Mount Athos. Today in the Holy Monastery live about 95 monks and is celebrated the 19th of August (Julian Calendar - Feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior).

07Athos Chiropatamou

Holy Monastery of Xiropotamos

It was built in 1.000 to 1.100 AD. and is the second oldest Monastery after the Holy Monastery of Great Lavra. Today in the monastery live about 25 monks and is celebrated in March the 22nd (Julian Calendar - feast of Saranda Martyrs)

Holy Monastery of Docheiariou

It was built around 1.050 to 1.100 AD. by the student of Athanasios Athonitis “Efthymio Docheiari”. Today in the Holy Monastery is kept the icon of Holy Mary the “Gorgoupikoos”. It is inhabited by 50 monks and is celebrated in November the 21st (Julian Calendar - feast of the Archangel Michael and Gabriel).

Holy Monastery of Karakallos

It was built in 1.000 to 1.100 AD. by the monk Caracalla. Today in the Holy Monastery are kept 42 parchments. It is inhabited by 55 monks and is celebrated in July the 12th (Julian Calendar - Feast of Saints Apostles Peter and Paul).

Holy Monastery of Saint Paul

It was built in 1.000 to 1.100 AD. by Saint Paul the Xiropotamitis. Today in the Holy Monastery, the gifts which were offered to Christ by the Magi, about 500 manuscripts and 18.000 printed books are kept. It is inhabited by 50 monks and is celebrated in February the 15th (Julian Calendar - feast of the Assumption of the Lord).

Holy Monastery of Stavronikita

It was built in 1.000 to 1.100 AD. without accurate data. Two are the most prevalent stories either it was built by Stavros and Nikitas or by Nikiforos Stavronikitas, who was the officer of the emperor John Tsimiski. Today in the Holy Monastery is kept the mosaic icon of St. Nick which is said that when it was found in the sea, had an oyster on the forehead of the Saint. When the oyster was loosened, blood flowed at the point where his forehead was depicted. The monastery is inhabited by about 45 monks and is celebrated in December the 19th (Julian Calendar - feast of Saint Nick).

Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleimon

It was built in 1.000 to 1.100 AD. is located right on the sea and is also called the "Russian Monastery". The bell tower has the largest bell of Mount Athos, with 13 tons weight and 2.7 meters diameter. Today, the library owns Greek and Slavic manuscripts. Also, in the Monastery, live about 15 monks and is celebrated in August the 9th (Julian Calendar – holiday of Saint Panteleimon).

Holy Monastery of Chilandrari

It was built in 1197 AD. by Saint Savvas, heir to the Serbian throne and Archbishop Serbia. The father of Saint Sava came to Mount Athos and became solitary, when he abdicated the throne. Today the Holy Monastery is the capital of Serbian Orthodoxy and hosts more than 20.000 books. It is inhabited by 75 monks and is celebrated in December the 4th (Julian Calendar - Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin).

Holy Monastery of Simon Petra

It was built in 1.200 to 1.300 AD. from Saint Simon and is a marvel of architecture, as is built on the cliff on a huge rock. Today in the Holy Monastery, the miraculous hand of St. Mary Magdalene and nearly 32.000 printed books are kept. It is inhabited by 90 monks and is celebrated in January the 7th (Julian Calendar - celebration of the Nativity of Christ).

Pantokratoros 1

Holy Monastery of Almighty

It was built in 1.363 AD. by the great Alexios and his brother Ioannis with support of the emperor John Paleologos. Today the Holy Monastery is located next to sea on an impressive cliff. It is inhabited by 85 monks and is celebrated in August the 19th (Julian Calendar - Feast of the Transfiguration of the Savior).

Holy Monastery of Dionysiou

It was built in 1375 AD. by Saint Dionysius with the support of the emperor of Trebizond Alexios III Komnenos. Today in the Holy Monastery are kept the right hand of Timios Prodromos and more than 1.100 manuscripts. It is inhabited by 60 monks and is celebrated in July the 7th (Julian Calendar - feast of Saint Ioannis Prodromos).

Holy Monastery of Gregory

It was built in 1.300 to 1.400 AD. by the monk Gregory Sinaitis. Today in the library of the Monastery about 300 manuscripts and 4000 books are kept. It is inhabited by about 90 monks and is celebrated in December the 19th (Julian Calendar - feast of Saint Nick).

For male visitors, a trip to Mount Athos is possible. You should contact the pilgrimage office in Ouranoupoli, to get informed properly. For the female visitors, Mount Athos is “Avaton” and cannot be entered. Although, there is a possibility to admire this sacred place, through day cruises.

Holy Sketes

There are 12 Holy Sketes belonging to some of the 20 Holy Monasteries. In more detail:

Hermitages

Holy Monastery

Timios Prodromos, Agia Anna, Agios Dimitrios

Megisti Lavra

Theotokos, Saint Demetrios (Lakkou)

St. Paul's

Saint Andrew, Saint Demetrios

Vatopedi

Dormition of the Virgin Mary

Saint Panteleimon

Prophet Elijah

Pantocrator

Timiou Prodromou

Iviron

Saint Panteleimon

Koutlumousiou

Annunciation of the Virgin Mary

Xenophon

For male visitors, a trip to Mount Athos is possible. You should contact the pilgrimage office in Ouranoupoli, to get informed properly. For the female visitors, Mount Athos is “Avaton” and cannot be entered. Although, there is a possibility to admire this sacred place, through day cruises.

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