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Iviron Monastery


On the ruins of the ancient city Kleonae, in a peaceful and tranquil landscape on the northeastern side of the peninsula of Athos stands the famous great Monastery Iviron. This holy monastery was founded by St. Ioannes the Iberian at the end of the 10th century AD, just after the monasteries of Megiste Lavra and Vatopedi. Ioannis Tornikos is cited amongst the monastery’s founders – initial benefactors, who was, prior to becoming a monk, a lord chamberlain to the court of David, Russian ruler of the area then known as Iberia (present day Russian Georgia). Tornikos will interrupt his monastic life, following a request by Emperor Basil II and will help the Emperor crush the rebellion led by General Bardas Skleros. After completing his mission, Tornikos will rejoin the monastic order and enjoying the gratitude and material help of Emperor Basil will begin building a new Monastery, close to the ruins of an older monastery, erected by Clement. This new monastery, due to the origins of its founders, shall be named Iviron Monastery (Georgian monastery) and a great number of Georgian and Russian monks will join its ranks in the first centuries of its flourishing. The monastery will soon grow, acquiring monasteries and dependencies outside of Athos until it too will face the Catalan raids and Unificationists’ pogroms in the 13th and 14th century. In 1821 the monastery participates in the national struggle by donating part of its holdings to finance the revolution. National Martyr Patriarch Gregory V became a monk here for a brief period. In its modern history the monastery will suffer extensive fire damages in 1845 and 1865 and parts of it were completely rebuilt. Its Catholicon is dedicated to the Dormition of the Mother of God. The monastery possess of many notable heirlooms and a rich library. The miracle working icon of Our Lady Portaitissa is kept in one of its 17 chapels, an icon evoking many legends and traditions. The Skete of Prodromos is subject to Iviron Monastery.