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Monastery Iviron

Situated in a relaxing and quiet location, the big and famous Iveron abbey is built on the ruins of an ancient city. From Karies it takes one hour and a half to reach the abbey on foot and thirty minutes by car, while from the Stavronikita abbey it takes an hour on foot and fifteen minutes by motorboat.

Once there, the things you notice are the charming kiosk, a natural cold water- fountain and the impressive portal of its main entrance. As soon as you walk in the front yard, you face the main temple at the center of the yard. At your left hand, you see the chapel of Panagia Portaetessa, and at your right hand, you can see the library and the vestry. Then comes the Altar, the belfry and archontariki.

During the years of the reign of emperor Michael Paleologos and Patriarch John Beccou, the abbey had the same luck with the Vatopedi abbey, because its monks didn’t accept to denounce their religions as the latins had asked them to do. After they had been killed, they were thrown into the sea. Some time later, the atalans completed the disaster. In 1357, with a document, which was issued by Patriarch Kalistos, the abbey became Greek, not only because of the number of Greek monks, which were there, but also because they had a greater contribution from the Iberians in every intellectual endeavour. In the beginning the abbey was cenobetic but in 1880 it becamepeculiar. Unfortunately, in April 1865, it was completely burned down except for the main temple, but thanks to the efforts of the monks, it was rebuilt. The main temple was built by the Iberian George Varasvatze in 1030, and its wall- paintings were painted between the period of the 16th and the 19th century.

The wall paintings at the temple’s porch represent, not only figures of Saints, but also ancient philosophers like Sophocles, Thoucydides, Platon, Ploutarch, Aristotle, e.t.c. During the Greek evolution, in 1821, the abbey sold a large number of its treasures, in order to raise money for the Greek rebels. The last of the Iberian monks died in 1955. At the Iveron abbey, they operate under the Haldeon time-system, which is based on sunset. Therefore, when the sun rises, the time is 0 while for the rest of Athos, time 0 always coincides with sunset.

The abbey has 17 chapels, among them the chapel of Portaetessa where the icon with the same name, which works miracles, is devoutly kept.

The library is situated in a separate building. There, we can see 2.000 hand-written codes and about 13.000 prints. From the several treasures of the abbey, we should notice the icon of Portaetessa, the silver chandle-stick holder made according to the image of a lemon tree, the mantle of Patriarch Gregory the fifth, the sac of the emperor Tsimiski, a piece of wood from the Holy Cross, relics of several saints, objects of worship and several other items which are carefully kept in perfect condition by the abbey’s monks. Thirteen cells depend on this abbey.