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Pantokrator Monastery


The Holy Monastery Pantokratoros is built on a rock beaten by the sea, on the eastern side of the Mountain, thirty meters above the sea. The establishment of the monastery had taken place in the 13th century and two Byzantine noble officials are considered to be its founders. One of them was General Alexios, Stratopedarchis of Emperor John V Paleologos and the other was primikerios John, the Emperor’s bridegroom. According to tradition, these two men came to Athos to become monks in a small cell which later will evolve into this cardinal monastery. The initial development of the monastery will be followed by a period of economic crisis, which will become even harder during Ottoman rule. The support by the rulers of the countries on the banks of Danube and Russian Emperors will help the monastery greatly, but it will suffer from fires, the fiercest of which was that in 1773. One of the key attachments of the Monastery is the Skete of Prophet Elijah, which was founded by Russian monk Paisius Velichkovsky, who came to the Holy Mountain in 1757 at the age of 24. The Skete will evolve upon the arrival of a great number of Russian monks and will be organized in accordance to cenobitic living, in essence assuming the size and importance of a monastery. The evolution of the Skete of Prophet Elijah and the erection of new buildings without the consent of the cardinal monastery of Pantokratoros raised a legal issue in the relationship between the two institutions, an issue that was resolved in 1892 by a sigillium by Patriarch Neophytus. The monastery celebrates on the Transfiguration of our Savior and holds the seventh place in the Athonian monastic hierarchy. The Catholicon of the monastery, due to lack of space, is small and its frescoes are a prime example of the work of Macedonian School. The most important treasures of the monastery include the portable icon of Our Lady Gerontissa, a piece of the shield of Philopater Mercurius, a piece of the True Cross and the relics of many Saints. Its library contains 317 manuscripts, of which 68 on parchment and roughly 5.000 printed volumes. Due to the lack of space the Refectory is not housed in a separate building, but is located on the uppermost floor of the west wing of the monastery’s buildings.