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Athens News Agency: News in English, 06-11-29

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Fire damages Koutloumousiou Monastery on Mt. Athos
  • [02] Eleftherotypia founder, publisher Christos Tegopoulos dies

  • [01] Fire damages Koutloumousiou Monastery on Mt. Athos

    A fire that broke out late Tuesday night in a 60 sq.m. section of the Koutloumousiou Monastery in the Mt. Athos all-male monastic community was contained by Wednesday morning after all-night efforts by a strong team of firefighters from Chalkidiki and Thessaloniki, aided by 10 fire engines, but caused damages estimated at 50,000 euros.

    The fire, which broke out at 10:00 p.m. for reasons as yet unknown, caused about 50,000 euros in damages, according to estimates by the Thessaloniki Fire Department, and thanks to the efforts of the firefighters the fire was contained before spreading to other building facilities where invaluable sacred relics are housed.

    According to firefighters, the fire broke out in an area of the monastery's top floor, buring a section of the roof, furniture and other objects. The Fire Brigade division stationed at Athos rushed to the monastery with 3 fire engines, and were later joined by reinforcements from Polygyros -- the second leg of the Chalkidiki peninsula (Athos comprises the third leg), and from Thessaloniki, which managed to put out the blaze by Wednesday morning. They said the section of roof that burned in the fire was not more than 60 square meters.

    The Koutloumousiou monastery, which is sixth in hierarchical rank among the Athos community's 20 monasteries, is situated on the northeastern side of Athos, near Karyes. It is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Saviour.

    While the existence of the coenobitic monastery is confirmed by a document from back to 1169, Koutloumousiou in its present form was founded in the 14th century. Koutloumousiou is considered to be one of the most magnificent of all the monasteries of Mt. Athos.

    It's central church was built in 1540, but there are many chapels associated with the monastery -- seven within its confines and another seven outside its walls. The most impressive of these is the chapel of the Mighty Protection of the Mother of God, built in 1733, which is at the left of the eso-narthex of the central church and contains a miraculous icon of the Mother of God holding Christ as a child. Other chapels include St. Natalia, Saints Kosmas and Damianos, All Saints, St. John the Baptist, the Archangels, and St. Spyridon.

    Koutloumousiou's renowned library contains 662 manuscript codices, of which 100 are on parchment, old documents, and more than 3,500 printed books. The monastery also has approximately 150 moveable icons, while it also has in its safekeeping many relics of saints, icons, vestments, ecclesiastic artefacts, crosses and other objects.

    In the early 14th century, Koutloumousiou was the target of raids and looting by the Catalans, while in 1497 it suffered extensive damage in the great fire of 1497. In 1767 another fire ravaged the monastery, destroying its east wing, but the damage was restored with the assistance of then Patriarch Matthaios III of Alexandria. Two more fires again seriously damaged the monastery's buildings in the 10th century (1859 and 1870), with repairs carried out under Abbot Meletios.

    The most recent fire -- before Tuesday's -- occurred in 1980, again damaging the east wing, the repair of which was completed in 1998.

    Caption: ANA file photo of restoration works in 1998 on the Koutloumousiou Monastery's east wing, which had been devastated in another fire in 1980.

    [02] Eleftherotypia founder, publisher Christos Tegopoulos dies

    Eleftherotypia newspaper founder, owner and publisher Christos Tegopoulos died on Wednesday morning at the age of 86.

    Tegopoulos had served as president of the Union of Athens Daily Newspaper Owners, was a shareholder in the private MEGA Channel television station, and in numerous book, magazine and newspaper publishing enterprises.

    Christos Tegopoulos was born in Trikala in 1920, and joined the Leftist movement and the national resistance at an early age.

    After years of exile, he was released and worked as a journalist at the Avghi newspaper.

    He entered publishing in 1966, and became widely known for the successful publishing of the popular Domi encyclopedia in demotic (spoken) Greek.

    During the 7-year colonels' dictatorship in Greece he left for Paris and then the US, from where he returned immediately upon the restoration of democracy and founded the mass circulation Eleftherotypia daily.

    Caption: ANA file photo of Eleftherotypia newspaper founder, owner and publisher Christos Tegopoulos, wo died in Athens on Wednesday at the age of 86.

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