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Holy Monastery of Stavronikita: the unique icon of Saint Nikolaos Streidas in the smallest monastery of Mount Athos

Where is the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita?


The Holy Monastery of Stavronikita is the smallest Monastery of Mount Athos in terms of size. It is located on the eastern side of the peninsula at an altitude of 50m, between the Monasteries of Iviron and Pantokratoros, overlooking the Strymonikos gulf.


The Stavronikita Monastery celebrates on December 6th of Saint Nikolaos and is in the 15th place in the hierarchy of the monasteries of Mount Athos.


Who is the founder of the Stavronikita Monastery?


The beginning of the history Stavronikita Monastery is lost in the 10th and 11th centuries. Historical information and testimonies about the establishment of the Monastery are limited, however an official document of Protos Nikephoros in 1012, confirms that the Monastery functioned as a Cell since the 10th century.


There are several versions of the foundation of the Stavronikita Monastery. It is most likely that the founder of the Monastery was an officer of Tsimiskis, named Nikitas or Stavronikitas Nikephoros. Also, there is also the hypothesis that the establishment of the Monastery is due to two monks, Stavros and Nikitas.


Holy Monastery of Stavronikita


The Holy Monastery of Stavronikita over the centuries: a brief history of the monastery


In the 12th century the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita fell into decline due to pirate raids and in the 13th century it came under the control of Holy Monastery of Koutloumusiou.


In the 16th century, Stavronikita Monastery was already a part of Holy Monastery Filotheou, while in 1533 the abbot of Holy Monastery Giromeriou, hieromonk Grigorios, bought Stavronikita from Filotheou.


Grigorios Geromeriatis became the first ruler of the Monastery and made honorable efforts to renovate it and fortify it with walls. Then, Patriarch Jeremias I completed the strengthening of the Monastery with new buildings, while at the same time he endowed it with important shares in Kassandra and Lemnos.


The monastery returned to the communal system and with a patriarchal seal declared it Patriarchal and Stavropigik.


To this day, the monks of Stavronikita Monastery honor Grigorios Geromeriatis and Patriarch Jeremiah as the second founders of the Monastery.


Fires hit the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita


In its historical course, the Stavronikita Monastery was tested five times by fires. The first fire of 1607 incinerated a large part of its buildings, as a result of which the reconstruction began from the beginning.


In the 17th century, the ruler of Wallachia, Sherban Kandakouzinos, greatly helped the Monastery and built an aqueduct.


In the 18th century, the ruler of Wallachia, Alexandros Ghikas, became a benefactor of the Monastery, after offering it the Monastery of the Holy Apostles in Bucharest.


Holy Monastery of Stavronikita


In 1741, 1864, 1874 and 1879 the Stavronikita Monastery burned again. The last one was the most destructive fire.


Like other monasteries of Mount Athos, the Holy Monastery of Stavronikita was brought to its knees financially by the exorbitant taxes it had to pay during the period of the Turkish occupation. However, the debt was paid off after the superhuman efforts of the abbot of the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, Theofilos.


In recent years, in 1968, the Stavronikita Monastery gained life again with the arrival of a new fraternity and was transformed from an idiosyncratic to a communal administration.


The Church of the Monastery and the hagiographies by Theophanis


The Church of the Stavronikita Monastery was chronicled in 1546 by the famous representative of the Cretan school Theophanis, together with his son Symeon. The refectory (trapeza) of the monastery was also painted by Theophanis' hand, as well as the twelve portable icons.


The Library and the relics of the Stavronikita Monastery Saint Nicholas Stridas


In the sacristy of the Monastery of Stavronikita there are many relics of Saints, liturgical utensils and vestments and many portable icons of great historical and religious value.


One of the most important relics of the monastery is the mosaic icon of Saint Nikolaos, the so-called "Stridas " (=oyster), a work of the 13th-14th century.


The icon was probably thrown into the sea by Catalan pirates in 1306. When it was found, in 1859, there was an eight-centimeter crack in the Saint's forehead, on which an oyster lived. Thus, the icon received the patronymic " Saint Nikolaos Streidas or Astreidas". Here you can find an image of Agios Nikolaos the Streidas.


The monastery has in its possession 171 manuscripts, 2 cotton silks, 3 parchment scrolls and a large number of forms. Noteworthy is a 12th-century Evangelistarion psalter with golden letters (parchment code no. 46).


In terms of metochia, the Stavronikita Monastery has 33 Huts in the settlement of Kapsala and 4 Cells. Also, the Monastery has 6 chapels.


Contact with Monastery of Stavronikita:

Phone: +30 23770 23255

Email: -


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