The Monastery of Chelandari (tel. +30 377 31097)

The Monastery of Chelandari Chelandari lies on the north-east side of the peninsula. Its name is derived probably from the founder of an earlier monastic settlement at this spot, who was called Chelandaris.

The monastery was founded in the late 12th century by the Serbian ruler Stephen Nemanya and his son Rastko.

It is considered to be the main spiritual centre of the Serbs. It holds the fourth place in the hierarchical rank of the monasteries, it is idiorrythmic and is inhabited by 46 monks.

The katholikon is dedicated to the Presentation of the Mother of God. It was built at the beginning of the fourteenth century and follows the Byzantine Athonite plan. The murals of the church were executed in 1319-20, while some walls were painted over in 1803 by an artist with expressionist leanings. Aside from the Katholikon, the monastery also features 13 small chapels.

The Library is well organised and contains 181 Greek codices, as well as 809 Slavonic ones, 400 documents and 20,000 printed books of which 3,000 are written in Greek.

The monastery features an original and a new treasury. The original houses valuable stones from the eleventh and twelfth centuries and the new one features embroidered vestments, a splinter from Christ's crown of thorns, relics of saints, etc.

© 1997 Macedonian Press Agency