Pantokratoros monastery

The monastery is located beside the sea, between those of Vatopediou and Iviron, in the northwestern side of the Αthos peninsula. Alexios Komnenos and great byzantine commander Alexios Stratigopoulos, together with his brother, great primecerius John (around 1350) are considered to be the founders. However, it is not mentioned until the middle 14th century.

The huge icon of Jesus Pantokratoros dedicated by the brothers is displayed in the museum of Hermitage, in Petersburg. In 1349, the monastery was destroyed by a fire and was restored with the sponsorship of emperor Manuel II. It had the same bad luck in 1773 and 1948, when it suffered devastating fires, but managed to recover. It had properties in Thasos, Lemnos, Halkidiki and a dependency near Serres. During Ottoman rule, it recieved the financial support of the rulers of the areas nearby Dunabe and of  Catherine the Great.

There is a fountain in the eastern side of the entrance with an inscription: “ΕΥ Ω ΠΑΓΑ ΣΩΜΑ ΝΟΟΝ ΑΜ'ΩΣ ΑΓΑΠΩ ΥΕ” (Dear fountain, refresh the body and the mind at the same time as I would like). The Catholicon is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior and is contemporary with the era the monastery was built. It was hagiographed in the third quarter of the 14th century and was painted over in 1854 by Matthew John of Naoussa. The “iconostasio”  icon‐screen is considered to be one of the oldest in Mount Athos. The church has the miraculous icon of Panagia Gerontissa. The altar was built in 1741 and was narrated in 1742, whereas the bell tower was built in the 19th century.

The monastery owns a dependency in Karyes known as a cell of “Ravdouchos”. It is its part since its founding in 1357. Nowadays, the temple and the tower added by the founding brothers in 1357 is all that is left. There are several relics of saints preserved, such as those of Theodoros Stratilatis, of St. Kosmas and St. Damianos, and a piece of the shield of St. Merkourios. The library has 350 manuscript codes and almost 3.500 books. A large font psalter of the 19th century is well known. It has many Greek and Turkish documents, one of which is from Wallachia of the 17th century. The Skete of Prophet Elias founded in 1759 by Russian monk Paisios depends from the monastery.

Text: Dr. Antonios G. Dikaios/ Theologian – Environmentalist.