The Monastery of Vatopedi (tel. +30 377 61219)

The Monastery of Vatopedi It is located on the north-eastern part of the Athos peninsula. It was built in 972, founded by the monks Athanasios, Nicholas and Antonios, all three students of Saint Athanasios the Athonite. Today's buildings were erected during the years of the emperor Manuel the first Komnenon.

Vatopedi ranks second in the hierarchy of the monasteries. It is idiorrythmic and is inhabited by 50 monks (1990).

The whole impression is that of a fortress as it features numerous wings, towers, etc. The katholikon was built in the tenth century, and is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in accordance with the Athonite architecture. Samples of Byzantine mosaics remain, some of which were retouched in the 12th century and in 1312. Nineteen smaller chapels in addition to the katholikon lie within and outside the boundaries of the monastery.

The treasury of the monastery of Vatopedi holds some of the most valuable relics: fragments of the True Cross, a part of the reed on which the sponge of vinegar was offered to Christ on the Cross, and many others.

The library is rich in invaluable treasures. Among other things, 1,700 manuscripts and over 10,000 printed books.

© 1997 Macedonian Press Agency