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TravellingByzantine MacedoniaMount AthosThe monasteries of Mount Athos

The monasteries of Mount Athos

The Protaton church at Karyes
The Great Lavra Monastery
Vatopedi Monastery
Chelandari Monastery

Images on this page

The monastery of the Great Lavra
View of the interior of the Great Lavra Monastery, founded in 963, Mount Athos.

The Deposition of Christ from the Cross from the Great Lavra Monastery
Wall-painting by the Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitzas Bathas depicting the Deposition of Christ from the Cross, 1535, Katholikon of the monastery of the Great Lavra, Mount Athos.

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The monastery of the Great Lavra


The Deposition of Christ from the Cross from the Great Lavra Monastery

The Great Lavra Monastery was founded in the 10th century by Saint Athanasios the Athonite with the financial support of the emperors Nikephoros Phokas and John Tzimiskes. It has ever since ranked first among the monasteries on Athos.

In itself a splendid building, with strong surrounding walls, katholikon, cells, refectory, and a defensive tower, it established the norm for the monastic and structural arrangements of other monasteries.

The extremely ancient katholikon, dedicated to Theotokos (the Mother of God), was built in 963 and has undergone various repairs in its time, the latest redecoration being executed in 1535 by the outstanding Cretan artist Theophanis.

The decoration of the Lavra, displaying a wealth of iconography and an astonishing quality of painting, was to become the model for other churches on Athos and in the Orthodox world in general. The monastery possesses a rich collection of 2,046 manuscripts, 10,000 printed books, and numerous other treasures.

See Also
Civilization - Monasteries (867-1024)


Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.