Where is the Holy Monastery of Karakallou?
The Holy Monastery of Karakallou is built on a slope, on the Northeast side of Mount Athos, at an altitude of 200m. It is located between the monasteries of Great Lavra and Iviron, while it is 30 minutes from the sea and 3 hours from Karyes.
The Holy Monastery of Karakallou celebrates on June 29th the Apostles Peter and Paul and is in the 11th place in the hierarchy of the Monasteries of Mount Athos.
Who is the founder of Karakallou Monastery?
According to the tradition, the most likely version for the foundation of the Monastery of Karakallou speculates that a monk by the name of Karakalas, at the beginning of the 11th century, was the founder.
The mention of the Monastery in an official document of the First Nikephoros (1018) and its omission in the Second charter or Typikon, is an example of the turbulent course of the monastery.
On the other hand, it is possible that the name of the Monastery comes from the Turkish phrases "kara kale", meaning black fortress, or "kara kule" meaning black tower.
The Holy Monastery of Karakallou over the centuries
The depredations of the pirates and the favors of the Palaeologian Emperors
The pirate raids that plagued the Athonian peninsula during the first two centuries since the foundation of the Athonian State, did not leave the course of the Caracallos Monastery unaffected.
The blow of the raids was so great that in the 13th century, after the invasion of pirates and Latins, the Holy Monastery of Caracallou was led to complete desolation. However, the saving intervention of the Palaeologos Emperors, Andronikos II and John V, as well as the Patriarch of Constantinople, Athanasios, gave life to the monastery again. At the same time, during that period the number of monks increased and the Monastery was renovated.
A few years later, the Monastery was once again the target of pirate raids, but this time it recovered more quickly. With the contribution of the Voevodas of Wallachia Ioannis Petros D'Rares, the Monastery was immediately rebuilt. In fact, Ioannis Petrou IV Rares himself eventually became a monk at the Karakallou Monastery and was honored as the second founder.
In the year 1534, after the financial support offered by the Voevodas Ioannis Petros, and with the initiative of the abbot Germanos, the tower was built with its own refectory (trapeza).
The heyday of the Holy Monastery of Karakalou and the favor of the Sultan
In addition, following the permission of Sultan Suleiman, and with the special support of his daughter, the Karakalou Monastery was financially strengthened and experienced a significant period of prosperity.
The flourishing period of the Monastery continued in the 17th century. Around 1674, the kings of Iberia (Georgia) Arihil and Vakhtang contributed to the prosperity of the Karakalou Monastery and donated to it the share of Saint Nikolaos in Ismailia.
In 1875, the devastating fire that broke out led to the second phase of reconstruction of the Monastery, where older structures were repaired, and additions were made. Then, the refectory was rebuilt, Cells for the monks and guest houses.
In recent years, the Holy Monastery of Karakallou took an active part in the struggles of the Greeks during the Greek War of Independence of 1821.
The buildings of the Karakallou Monastery: the largest tower of Mount Athos
Among the buildings of the Karakallou Monastery, a very remarkable work is the tower of Peter, which was built in the 16th century and is the largest of all the towers of Mount Athos!
In addition, the Holy Monastery of Karakallou has 7 chapels and 18 Cells. Its Church is a 16th century building with additions in later centuries and is commemorated in memory of the Apostles Peter and Paul.
The current Trapeza (refectory) of the Karakallou Monastery was built in 1875, but its original form is much older.
The Library and the relics of the Monastery of Karakallou
In the sacristy of the Karakallou Monastery are kept gold-embroidered vestments, liturgical utensils and a piece of Sacred Wood.
In addition, among the relics of the Monastery are treasured the skull of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle and Saint Christopher.
Furthermore, many portable icons are kept, the most important of which is that of the Apostles Peter and Paul, to whom the Monastery of Karakallou is dedicated. This icon was created in 1540 by the painter Konstantinos Palaiokapas.
Another important icon is the one of the Twelve Apostles, which is placed on the wooden iconostasis of the Church and is a work of 1722 by Dionysios Fournas.
279 manuscripts and approximately 2,500 printed books are stored in the library of the Karakallou Monastery.
Contact with Monastery of Karakallou:
Phone: +30 23770 23225, 23770 23746