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TravellingByzantine MacedoniaMount Athos

Mount Athos

Painting on Mount Athos
The manuscripts of Mount Athos
The monasteries of Mount Athos

Images on this page

Monastery of Chelandari on Mount Athos
View of the interior of the monastery showing the Katholikon and the Phiale, Chelandari Monastery (founded 850), Mont Athos, Monastery of Chelandari.

The 'lavra' of Agios Savvas
Depiction of the 'lavra' (loosely organized monastic community) of Agios Savvas in Palestine, taken from a pilgrim's guide to the Holy Land, 17th century, Docheiariou Monastery, Mount Athos.

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Monastery of Chelandari on Mount Athos

The 'lavra' of Agios Savvas

A fascinating story lies behind the beginnings of monasticism on Mount Athos (or Ayion Oros, the Holy Mountain). There is reliable historical evidence of the existence from the 9th century onwards of organised monasticism, which acquired a more precise form upon the arrival on Athos in 963 of Saint Athanasios, founder of the Great Lavra Monastery.

The first 'typikon' (charter) of monastic life on the mountain was compiled in 971/2, its rules persisting throughout the Byzantine age. The monastic state was governed by the 'protos' (first), the primate of Athos, whose seat was at Karyes, and the 'Synaxis' (Assembly) of the abbots of the leading monasteries. By the 11th century there were about 180 monasteries, of which only 20 are in existence today.

See Also
Civilization - Funerary sculpture (867-1204)
Metalwork (867-1204)
Sculpture (1274-1317)
Mural mosaics (867-1204)
Icons (867-1204)
Icons (1204-1430)
Monasteries (867-1024)
Fortifications - Industrial buildings (1204-1430)

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.