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Xiropotamou Monastery


To the east of the monastery of Agios Panteleimon and to the west of that of Simonopetra, at a distance of roughly 200 meters from the sea in the middle of the southwestern side of the peninsula of Athos and amidst a verdurous landscape we find the beautiful, imposing and cardinal monastery of Xiropotamou, at the place of once ancient Charadria. Its foundation is essentially placed at the end of the 9th century, just prior to the erection of the monastery of Megiste Lavra. But the Athonian tradition holds that this monastery is even older, attributing its foundation to Empress Pulcheria, in the 5th century AD. Other sources cite Emperors Constantine VI Porphyrogennetus and Romanus I Lecapenus as the monastery’s founders, in early 10th century. But the most widely accepted version is that which considers the monastery to have been founded by monk Blessed Paul of Athos, a contemporary of Blessed Athanasius Athonite. The original name of the monastery was “the monastery of the Holy Forty” but also of “St. Nicephorus”. Up until the 13th century the Monastery prospered and evolved, but was later faced with destruction from pirate raids and fires. However it was greatly assisted by Emperors Michael VII and Andronicus II and was also favored by Sultan Selim I, According to tradition monks from Xiropotamou, or Xeropotamou whilst on tour to collect money to help rebuild their destroyed monastery were welcomed by the Ottoman Sultan Selim I in Alexandria in Egypt. Selim, in his campaign against Egypt was impressed by the faith and morale of the monks from Mt. Athos and issued a special instrument, the Hati-Serif by which special privileges were extended to all monasteries on Mt. Athos and especially to the monastery Xiropotamou which he also restored. The Catholicon of the monastery celebrates the Forty Holy Martyrs.