Skete of Saint Andrea on Mount Athos

Northwest of Karyes and at a distance of 500m. is the Russian Skete of Agios Andreas. In the middle of the 18th century, the monk Visarion bought a cell that was none other than the one that was slowly going to surpass the largest monasteries of Mount Athos in terms of buildings and monks. The central church of the Skete is considered the largest in the Balkans and is dedicated to the name of the Apostle Andrew. It is 60 m long, 33 m wide and 29 m high from the floor. It was founded in 1867. Formerly it had 700 Russian monks. It is also called Seraglio, i.e. palace, from its magnificent buildings, or Shei-rai, which means, according to the Russians, "this is Paradise".

In 1958 the western side of the Skete was destroyed by fire and with it 20,000 volumes of books with many heirlooms and unknown manuscripts. Today it has no monks. It belongs to the Vatopedi monastery and only one Greek monk remains, called "Prosmonarios".