The Touristic Info Halkidiki informs: Mount Athos - Monasteries and skites

Moni Iviron

Greek-orthodox, Holiday: August 15

The monastery is located closest to the capital Caries. Therefore it's no surprise that it has many visits by pilgrims. It is situated on a beautiful location directly on the east coast.

Its foundation goes back to around 980AD to Ioannes Tornikios. This was a dignitary at the court of the Georgian prince of David Tao, before he goes on the Holy Mountain, where he met Athonites Athanasios. In 978AD he led a successful diplomatic mission to the Byzantine emperor Basil II (976AD-1025AD). As thanks he received from the Emperor a privilege certificate and money and the permission for the construction of the monastery.

First, Georgian monks and their patrons came from home with wealth and prosperity to the monastery and then it attracted more and more Greek brothers. In the 14th Century, the Greeks against the Georgians were the majority. Today the monastery is entirely inhabited by Greek monks, after the last Georgian died in 1955.

The monastery is home to an extremely valuable treasure, as the largest library of Athos is evaluated. There are quite a few manuscripts from the 13th Century as well as irreplaceable Venetian first prints of Greek classics from the 15th Century.

In the treasury there are also numerous relics such as the right hand of the Father Basilios of Caesarea (the Great), as well as various chalices and crosses. In the chapel Portaissa there are also some interesting frescoes from the 17th Century. These show some people of pagan antiquity, as the wise and worldly predecessor of Christianity are presented.

These include Alexander the Great, Aristotle, Darius, Plato, Sophocles and Thucydides. Similarly, at the entrance of the chapel, dedicated to the Blessed Mother there is one of the most important icons of Athos: The Panagia Portaissa, the "Mother of God of the gate."

A legend says that the destructive Emperor Theophilos (829AD-842AD) has thrown the icon into the sea and it was flushed at the beach of Athos. The monk Gabriel had the divine vision to bring the icon into the sanctum of the monastery church. But then it disappeared three times as a ghost and it was found at the entrance of the church again.

Ultimately the monks got tired as it always returned, so today it is at the entrance of the chapel. Especially as a divine voice from the picture of grace to them: "I'm here to watch for you, not for you to watch me."

The monastery’s subordinate is the Skit Timiu Prodromu.

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