Where is the Monastery of Pantokratoros and when does it celebrate?
The Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros is one of the seaside monasteries of Mount Athos and is located on the north-eastern side of Athos. It is built on a rock, at an altitude of 40-50 m. and is 3.5 hours from Karyes on foot. The ancient city of Thyssos is located not far from the Monastery.
Pantokratoros Monastery celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on August 6 and is in seventh place in the hierarchy of the monasteries of Mount Athos.
When was the Monastery of Pantokratoros founded and who is its founder?
According to the tradition, the monastery's founder is considered to be the emperor Alexios Komnenos. However, official testimonies come to the conclusion that the founders of the Monastery were the brothers Alexios, the great general and John, the great Primitikirios.
We do not know exactly when the construction of the monastery began, but in 1358 the monastery already existed and was possibly inaugurated in 1362 by the Patriarch of Constantinople Kallistos I'.
The help of Paleologos dynasty and the expansion of the Monastery
The favor of the Paleologos dynasty was evident, as John IV Paleologos, already from the foundation of the Monastery, provided financial assistance.
In the Monastery of Pantokratoros, ancient monasteries were incorporated, such as those of Saint Auxentios, Dorotheos, Kynopodos, Ravdouchos, Fakinos and Falakros.
According to historical data, Alexios died around 1368, while John seems to have retired to Pantokratoros Monastery in 1384, where he became a monk.
The brothers helped a lot the Monastery of Pantokratoros and most of the metochia, that the monastery owned, were due to the financial help of the brothers.
The icon of Jesus Christ Pantocrator, which is currently in the museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, was also a gift from the brothers to the monastery.
The fires engulf the Pantokratoros Monastery
In 1390, an extensive fire destroyed a large part of Pantokratoros Monastery, but it was soon restored with the assistance of Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos and Patriarch Antonio IV.
Afterwards, the Monastery of Pantokratoros was renovated and expanded in the 16th century with the money offered by rulers of the Danube regions. During this period the Monastery experiences a great period of prosperity and spiritual radiation.
Benefactors of the Monastery help in the reconstruction
Among the great benefactors of the Monastery is the Greek Phanariot Ioannis Mavrokordatos, who strengthened the monastery during the 18th century.
Another big fire broke out in 1773 and destroyed many buildings and facilities of the Monastery. In this difficulty, the help of the monk Cyril was sagnificant.
The Monastery of Pantokratoros in the Ottoman Empire and in recent years
The Monastery of Pantokratoros, despite its massive debts, did not lose its vitality during the years of the Turkish occupation. Great personalities, such as Patriarch Kallistos II Xanthopoulos, Simeon and Theonas, Archbishops of Thessaloniki, lived in the Monastery.
In recent years, Pantokratoros Monastery was once again affected by a fire in 1948. The Restoration Service undertook the reconstruction of the charred buildings.
The buildings and metochia of Pantokratoros Monastery
The Church of the Monastery is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior (August 6) and was built at the same time as the Monastery. In the Church there is the tomb of the founders of the Monastery, John and Alexios, as well as an exceptional iconostasis dating from 1622-1640.
In addition, it seems that the Church has its own distinct and autonomous architectural course, as well as special iconography by Matthew John from Naoussa.
The original iconography of the Church dates back to the third quarter of the 14th century, probably in 1538, and was painted over in 1854. The iconostasis of the Church is perhaps the oldest on Mount Athos. The bell tower is a 19th century building.
The metochia of Pantokratoros Monastery include the Skete of Prophet Elias, 5 Cells and 38 Huts in the area of Kapsala. Also, in the Monastery there are 7 chapels inside the monastery and another 7 chapels outside.
The Monastery of Pantokratoros has the sovereignty of 5 Cells in the area of Karia. In recent times he acquired many metochia in Greece, Asia Minor and Wallachia, of which he currently owns none.
The Monastery ranks seventh in the hierarchy among the Monasteries of Mount Athos and returned to the communal system in 1992.
The Library and the relics of Pantokratoros Monastery
In addition, the sacristy of Pantokratoros Monastery houses important religious and historical relics, such as a piece of Holy Wood, part of the shield of Saint Mercury and icons dating from the 14th century.
As the main icon of the Monastery, Panagia Gerontissa is honored, which is one of the miraculous icons of Mount Athos.
The library of the monastery includes about 350 manuscript codices and about 3,500 forms. The documents of the Monastery are Greek, Turkish and one Vlach from the 17th century.
Contact with Monastery of Pantokratoros:
Phone: +30 23770 23880, +30 23770 23685