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Φωτογραφίες Μονής

Monastery Vatopediou

From Karies it takes three hours to go to the big- as it is called- abbey of Vatopedi. On your way to the abbey, you pass by wooded valleys and forests of chestnut-trees mixed with shrubs and wild flowers. The road, which is full of turns, climbs several hills and descendes many ridges. It passes through small rivers and crossroads, which lead to the monks’ hermitages. From time to time, while you continue on the road, you can see the sun trying to come through the clouds. This little game between the sun and the clouds generates a strange feeling of melancholy, which is difficult to explain, a longing for something unknown, an invisible nostalgia for what, you do not know. From time to time, you can see birds, rabbits and traces of wild boars. At the end of this short, but exhilirating trip you come face to face with the monastery, while further away you can see some additional buildings and the ruins of the old “Athoniada”.

The legend says that the monastery was built by Great Constantine but it was destroyed. Later on it was rebuilt by Great Theodosius because he wanted to honor Virgin Mary who saved his son from drowning by taking him to a bramble (Vato in Greek). That is why the abbey is called Vatopediou (Bramble-child). In 892 it was destroyed by the Arabs and it was rebuilt by three brothers from Andrianoupolis, Nicholas, Athanassios and Antonio. In the 12th century, Serbia’s King Symeon and his son Savvas, became monks and came to this particular abbey where the added some buildings. At the beginning of the 14th century and during the invasions of the Catalans, the abbot and ten monks became martyrs after suffering tortures from them. In 1546, the King of Sicily Alphonso, gave to the abbey a document he imposed sealed with golden seal in the Latin language; with this document he imposed a heavy fine to the pirates who might dare to bother the abbey. The kings of Moldavia and Wallachia funded the abbey and so did Czar Theodore in 1588.

The main temple of the monastery was built in the 11th century and it is named in honor of Christ’s Annunciation. The wall paintings were done in the 14th century but they were renewed in the 18th century. Inside and outside the monastery there are twenty-eight temples, some of which have excellent wall-paintings.