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Mount Athos is a mountain on the peninsula of the same name in Macedonia, of northern Greece, called in Greek Agion Oros transliterated often as Hagion Oros, or in English, "Holy Mountain". It is a place of 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and is well known for the fact that it is a self-governed monastic state of the holy mountain.
The only way one can visit the mountain is by boat. Only males are allowed to visit and are required to have a special entrance permit. If one wants to live in the "Garden of the Virgin" he should be part of the Eastern Orthodox Church and must be over 18 years old. However, there are not only Christians that live on mount Athos. There are also a number of Albanians who also work on the Holy mointain. There are guards that keep the order, police and Coast Guard that also observe the order on the mountain. There presence is very discreet.
The 20 monasteries are:
- Megistis Lavras monastery
- Vatopediou monastery
- Iviron monastery - built by Georgians
- Helandariou monastery - Serbian
- Dionysiou monastery
- outloumousiou monastery
- Pantokratoros monastery
- Xiropotamou monastery
- Zografou monastery - Bulgarian
- Dochiariou monastery
- Karakalou monastery
- Filotheou monastery
- Simonos Petras monastery
- Agiou Pavlou monastery
- Stavronikita monastery
- Xenophontos monastery
- Osiou Grigoriou monastery
- Esphigmenou monastery
- Agiou Panteleimonos monastery - Russian
- Konstamonitou monastery
However I am going to talk about 5 of them. The first one is the monastery of Great Lavra.It is the first monastery built on Mount Athos. . It is found by Athanasius in AD 963.
Athanasius, began the construction of the buildings in 963, according to the will of his friend and Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas who funded the project. Nikephoros had promised Athanasius that he would soon became a monk. However , he died before he could keep his promise. The emperors gave the monastery many lands of property including the island of Saint Eustratius and the Monastery of Saint Andreas in Thessaloniki.. In 1655, the Patriarch Dionysios III, who also became a monk, donated all his fortune to Great Lavra..
Treasures found in Lavre Monastery:
The library of the monastery is located behind the main church. It contains 2,116 Greek manuscripts and 165 codices. Among them manuscripts of the New Testament: Codex Coislinianus, Codex Athous Lavrensis, Uncial 049, Uncial 0167, and minuscules 1073, 1505, 2524, 1519. This collection is one of the richest collections of Greek manuscripts in the world.
Some of the most important artefacts found in the vestry are a manuscript of a gospel with a golden cover. This is a gift from Nikephoros II Phokas .
Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the Serbian Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja . It is called "The Serbian monastery" because its founders are Serbs and first monks were also Serbes.. . Hilandar does not have an abbot, but an under-abbot. The Mother of God through her Icon of Three Hands (Trojerucica), is considered as the abbess.
Two medieval Bulgarian royal charters, the Virgino Charter and the Oryahov Charter, have been found in Hilandar's library. After the fall of Serbia and Bulgaria under Ottoman rule, the influx of Serbian monks decreased at the expense of Bulgarians. From the 17th to the 19th century, Hilandar was predominantly Bulgarian-populated: in his account of 1745, the Russian pilgrim Vasily Barsky writes that the monks of Hilandar were all Bulgarians. Ilarion Makariopolski, Sophronius of Vratsa and Matey Preobrazhenski have all lived there, and it was in this monastery that Saint Paisius of Hilendar began his revolutionary Slavonic-Bulgarian History.
The Saint George the Zograf or Zograf Monastery is a Bulgarian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos (the "Holy Mountain") in Greece. It was founded in the late 9th or early 10th century by three Bulgarians from Ohrid. It is inhabited by Bulgarian Orthodox monks.
The 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 (zograf(os) in Greek means "painter" (from zoe="life" and grafos="scribe") and to possess wonder-working powers.
The earliest written evidence of the monastery's existence dates from 980. Since it was the only Bulgarian Monastery on Mount Athos the Bulgarian rulers supported it. The Zograf Monastery has also received land endowments by Byzantine (the first donor being Leo VI the Wise), Serbian, and Romanian rulers.
The Zograf Monastery's library is of a major importance to the Bulgarian culture. It preserves medieval manuscripts such as a 15th century copy of the passional of Saint Naum of Ohrid, the 14th-century passional of Saint Paraskevi, the original rough copy of Paisius of Hilendar's Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya and the History of Zograf. There can also be found 388 manuscripts in Slavic and 126 In Greek.. Two medieval Bulgarian royal charters, the Zograf Charter and the Rila Charter, have been discovered in the monastery's library.
Stavronika monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, dedicated to Saint Nicholas.
The monastery keeps a widely known 14th century icon of Saint Nicholas, known as "Streidas" because when it was accidentally discovered at the bottom of the sea, an oyster had stuck at the forehead of St. Nicholas. According to the myth, when the monks of Stavronikita removed the oyster, the saint's forehead bled.
Stavronikita has a collection of many holy relics.. The monastery has a collection of 171 manuscripts, out of which 58 are written on parchment. Some of the manuscripts bear notable iconography and decoration.
St. Panteleimon Monasteryis a Russian Orthodox monastery built on the south-west side of the peninsula of Mt. Athos in Greece. It is the largest of the 20 monasteries on the Holy mountain..
The monastery was founded by several monks from Kiev Rus in the 11th century. That's why it is known as 'Rossikon', and traditionally it was inhabited by Kiev and later by Russian Orthodox monks. It was recognized as a separate monastery in 1169.
The monastery prospered in the 16th and 17th centuries because it was lavishly sponsored by the Tsars of Moscovy. It declined dramatically in the 18th century to the point that there were only two Russian and two Bulgarian monks left by 1730.
The library contains 1,320 Greek manuscripts and another 600 Slavonic ones, as well as 25,000 printed books. In addition, the library has a few priceless relics, such as the head of Saint Panteleimon, one of the most popular saints in Russia.