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

Moni Vatopediou

Greek-orthodox, Holiday: March 25

The largest monastery of the monk's Republic was founded between 972AD and 985AD. This was clear because in the first Typikon of 972AD it was not mentioned in a document but from the year 985, however, it was listed for the first time in writing.

The name of the monastery comes from the two words "Vatos" (bramble) and "Pedion" (level). This happens because this location has actually got numerous brambles vegetation.

A pious legend says that the name has another root and came much earlier (late 4th century): In the case of a shipwreck near the Athos, Arkadios, who was the son of Emperor Theodosius I. (379-395AD ), was not drowned, but was miraculously washed ashore, directly next to a bramble. "Vatos" together with a "paidion" (child) is therefore "the child from the bramble."

Already in the second Typikon of Athos in the year 1045AD it was in the hierarchy of the monasteries in the second place and it has kept this position until today. Accordingly, there must have been a fairly high level of importance in those years because it was temporarily by up to 300 monks inhabited. The church is the proclamation of Mary.

It is located on the east coast and impresses with a tower with battlements and a nearly 200-meter long water front of the triangular complex, which somehow reminds a medieval town. About the Founder we don’t know much. In Katholikon there is, however, a mosaic with an inscription that Hegumenos Ioannikios of Vatopedi called as the founder.

Indeed, an abbot with this name traveled as an emissary of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118AD). Probably Ioannikios is the builder of the monastery church, but not the founder of the monastery. It has got about 2,000 old manuscripts and some 10,000 precious books and nearly 30,000 other printings.

In the church of the monastery, there are monumental mosaics from the 11th and 12 Century and frescoes from the 14th and 15 Century to admire. In a chapel there is the belt of the Mother of God and there is also kept one of the most important relics of Athos. The treasure chest contains a piece of cane, with the vinegar soaked sponge touched the crucified Jesus.

Here we shall not be - as usual on the Athos - after Julian, but according to our Gregorian calendar.

The monastery’s subordinates are the Skitest Agiu Andreu and Agiu Dimitriu.

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