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Monastery Agios Pandeleimonos

Going by motor boat from the Xenofontos Abbey and just efore we reach Dapnhe, we can see the Russian abbey of St. Panteleiomonos. It is built in a wooded area next to the sea. It is a cenobetic abbey and it celebrates on July 27. When you look at it from a distance, it looks like a fort with lots of domes and windows.

Goinh towards Karies and half an hour away on a plateau lies the Paliomonastero (ola abbey) which depends on St. Panteleiomonos abbey since 1765.

At this place the Thessalonikeos abbey was first built, which later on lost its mportance and was deserted. For this reason, during the 12th century, the First of Aghion Oros, along with followers offered the deserted abey to the Xelurgu abbey which was inhabited by Russian monks and which nowadays is called Vogodoritsa. The monks of Xelurgu went to the deserted abbey and the Xelrgu became a Skite (1168). During the 13th century it was burned, along with all the documents, which were kept there.

For this reason Andronicos Paleologos (1282-1328) secured the abbey’s land by issuing a documents’ sealed with his golden seal. For the next one hundred years, it was continuously under the protection of the Serb Kings. From 1314, the abbey is called St. Panteleiomonos abbey of the Russians.

The Paleologos dynasty first and the Serbian Kings later, benefited the abbey by providing gems and land. At the Third Ritual of Aghion Oros, the abbey comes fifth at the hierarchy of the abbeys. The abbot used to sign the various documents in Greek whih means the most of the monks were Greek. The abbey had a lot of Russian monks after the year of 1497. In 1552 it sems that it closed down temporarily but it soon operated again with a few monks. Anyhow, the 17th century, was a declining one for the abbey. In 1725, the abbey had two Russian and two Bulgarian monks. In the middle of the 18th century the abbey was occupied by Greeks. A bit later, the monks left permanently and came near the sea along the area where Ierissu Christoforos had built in 1667 the small church, which was named in honor of Christ’s Resurrection. There, in 1765, they founded the new abbey, which was called Russico (Russian).

The abbey’s buildings soon multiplied with the help of King Scarlatos Kallimachi and the protection of the Patriarch Gregory the Fifth. In 1803, Kallinius the Fifth, made the abbey a cenobetic one, while in 1839 the Russian monks started coming and some time later it had about two thousand.

Nowadays, it has only a few monks and the divine services are conducted in the Greek and Russian language. The main temple of the abbey was built during the period 1812-1820. It has thirty-five chapels, among them the temple of the Skepis of Theotokou (the Holy Protector, Virgin Mary), the temple of Alexander Niefske (1852) at the northwest sie, and that one of St. Metrophanes which is situated west of the library. The altar was built in 1980 and accomodates 800-1000 monks. The belfry (1893) is over the altar’s entrance. Its large bel- the second largest in the world- has a periphery for 8,71m , a diameter of 2,71m and it takes two monks to handle its 13,000 Kilos. Furthermore, two other monks, ring in a rhuhmical way the other thirty-two smaller bells.

The library contains 1064 hand-written codes of leather and paper, and 25.000 Greek and Slavonian prints. The treasures are kept in the abbey’s vestry.

Among them we can see wood from the Holy Cros, portable icons, excellent sacerdotal vestments, relics of Saints, several liturgical objects made of gold and silver, icons decorated with precious stones, crosses, etc.