Where is the Holy Monastery of Philotheou?
On the South-Eastern side of the Athonian peninsula, stands out the Holy Monastery of Philotheou. The Monastery is located at an altitude of 300-330 meters on a plateau, full of chestnut trees, near the ancient Asklepiion.
The Monastery of Philotheou is only half an hour away from the Karakallou Monastery and is located at a short distance, 1 hour, from the Holy Monastery of Iviron. The Monastery of Philotheou is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos and since 1574 it has been in the twelfth (12th) position in the hierarchy of the Monasteries of Mount Athos.
When was the Holy Monastery of Philotheou founded and who are the builders?
The Holy Monastery of Philotheou was founded at the end of the 10th century by three monks, Arsenios, Dionysios and Philotheos, who were contemporaries of Saint Athanasios the Athonite.
According to historical data, there was originally a small settlement in the area of Kravatos, called "small Monastery of Fteris". This place was the starting point of today's Philotheou Monastery.
The first recorded written reference to the Monastery of Philotheou dates back to around 1015 in an official document. At this point, there is today the chapel of the Prophet Elias.
The Holy Monastery of Philotheou over the centuries: a brief history
Long before the Turkish occupation, the abbots of the Monastery, such as Nikephoros, George and Loukas, recorded their presence in the historical sources of the 11th and 12th centuries.
Donations to the Monastery
A decisive role for the prosperity of the Monastery was played by Nikephoros III Bytaniatis, offering financial support to the Monastery of Philotheou, as well as several holy relics of saints and martyrs. In fact, Nikephoros III Bytaniatis is also honored as the second founder of the Monastery.
In addition, the Palaiologos emperors, Andronikos II and John V, helped significantly in the maintenance of the Monastery. Then, the financial support was taken over by rulers from Romania.
In the middle of the 14th century, Saint Theodosios, later Metropolitan of Trebizond, also became a monk in the Holy Monastery of Philotheou. Saint Theodosios was a brother of Saint Dionysios, founder of the Holy Monastery of Dionysios on Mount Athos.
The years of Turkish rule
During the early years of the Turkish rule, at the beginning of the 16th century, the presence of Abbot Dionysios, known as Saint Dionysios of Olympus, resulted in the change of the operation of the Monastery from the idiosyncratic to the communal system. However, the reaction of Bulgarian-speaking monks forced him to leave the Monastery.
The presence of Slavs in the Monastery of Philotheou was quite influential around the end of the 15th century. This fact is evidenced by a document of 1483 signed by the abbot in Slavic, but also by the frequent financing offered by the Serbian King Stephan Dusan.
Shortly before the end of the 15th century, in 1492, the Monastery of Philotheou was renovated by the rulers of Iberia (Georgia), Leontius and Alexander.
During the 17th century, many Greek rulers of the Danube regions financially supported the monasteries of Mount Athos. For the Holy Monastery of Filotheou, Grigorios Gikas was a great benefactor.
The Holy Monastery of Philotheou in its heyday
While for many centuries the Holy Monastery of Philotheou had not acquired significant power, remaining in obscurity, during the last centuries of the Turkish rule it began to gain power.
The heyday of the Monastery of Philotheou during the 18th century is largely due to the Greek rulers abroad, who offered great financial aid to the Monastery. This money was used for the construction of new building facilities in the Monastery to meet the needs of the monks.
Saint Kosmas the Aetolos in the Monastery of Philotheou
The 18th century was brilliant for the Holy Monastery of Philotheou and for another important reason. Saint Kosmas the Aetolos lived at the Monastery and from there he began to preach the word of God, building temples and schools for the subservient Greeks.
In 1746, the Church of the Monastery was completed, which had been built on the foundations of the old one. The Church celebrates the Annunciation of Virgin Mary and within it the frescoes from the Apocalypse stand out, as well as a fresco of Alexander the Great.
The fire of 1871 left the Church unchanged, but caused severe damage and financially affected the monastery.
In 1900 the Holy Community undertook to help the Holy Monastery of Philotheou, which finally manages to get back on its feet. From 1973 until today, the Monastery follows the communal administration system.
Metochia of the Philotheou Monastery: chapels and Kathisma
Next to the sea, the Holy Monastery of Philotheou has the holy water of Panagia Glykofilousa, which springs up steadily and unchanged, without reducing the quantity or temperature of the water. According to tradition, the abbot of the Monastery had seen a vision of Virgin Mary asking him to transfer the icon from that point to the monastery.
In addition, the Monastery of Philotheou has a unique place, the historical cave of Saint Dionysios "of Olympus", where he lived before becoming abbot of the Monastery.
In the capital of Mount Athos, in Karyes, is the representative office of the Monastery of Philotheou, built in 1964, where there is also a chapel of Saint Kosmas Aitolos.
The Monastery of Philotheou has a total of nine chapels. In the building area within the Monastery we find six chapels: one is dedicated to the Archangels, one to Saint John the Baptist, one to Saint Marina, the Holy Five Martyrs, Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Nicholas.
The sacred relics of the Holy Monastery of Philotheou
Various relics are kept in the monastery's sacristy, with perhaps the most important being the right hand of Saint John Chrysostom. In addition, the Monastery owns a piece of Holy Wood, a gift from the emperor Nikephoros III Botaneiatis, relics of Saints, vestments and church utensils.
In the Holy Monastery of Filotheou there is also the miraculous icon of Panagia Glykofilousa, but also of Panagia Gerontissa.
The library of the Monastery contains 250 manuscripts, 2 liturgical scrolls and about 2,500 printed materials, of which about 500 are in Russian and Romanian.
Contact with Monastery of Filotheou:
Phone: +30 23770 23256
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org