The Holy and Great Monastery of Vatopedi (also spelled Vatopaidi, , vatoˈpeði) on Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

, Greece, was built during the second half of the 10th century by three monks, Athanasius, Nicholas, and Antonius, from Adrianople
Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne...

, who were disciples of Athanasius the Athonite
Athanasius the Athonite
Athanasius the Athonite , also called Athanasios of Trebizond , was a Byzantine monk who founded the monastic community on Mount Athos, which has since evolved into the greatest centre of Eastern Orthodox monasticism....

. A legendary tradition says that its construction was ordered in the 5th century by Eastern Roman
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 Emperor Theodosius
Theodosius is a name which might refer to one of several people:* One of three emperors of ancient Rome and Byzantium:** Theodosius I , son of Count Theodosius...

 on the site of a church built by Constantine the Great in the 4th century. Theodosius built the monastery to honour the miraculous salvation by the Virgin Mary
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 of her son from a shipwreck. The child is said to have been found in a brier bush – hence vatos – βάτος "brier" and paidi – παιδί "child".
From then onwards several buildings have been constructed, most of them were built during the Byzantine period and during the 18th and 19th centuries when the monastery reached its highest peak.

About 100 monks live in the monastery today, where extensive construction projects are underway to restore the larger buildings.

The monastery is open to males and male animals. No females may enter, except female cats are allowed and female animals the size of chickens or smaller are allowed.. Reservations to stay at the monastery are required in addition to the permit to enter Mount Athos.

Sketes attached to Vatopedi

The following large Skete
A Skete is a monastic style community that allows relative isolation for monks, but alsoallows for communal services and the safety of shared resources and protection...

s are attached to Vatopedi: the Skete of Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew
Saint Andrew , called in the Orthodox tradition Prōtoklētos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" , like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the 3rd or 2nd century BC. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him...

 in Karyes
Karyes (Athos)
Karyes is a settlement in Mount Athos. It is the seat of the clerical and secular administration of the Athonite monastic state. The 2001 Greek census reported a population of 233 inhabitants...

 and the Skete of Saint Demetrius
Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki
Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki was a Christian martyr, who lived in the early 4th century.During the Middle Ages, he came to be revered as one of the most important Orthodox military saints, often paired with Saint George...

 near the main monastery. Other smaller sketes are also attached to the monastery.

Main buildings within the walls of the monastery

  • The Katholikon
    A Katholikon or Catholicon is the major temple of a monastery, or diocese in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The name derives from the fact that it is the largest temple where all gather together to celebrate the major feast days of the liturgical year. At other times, the smaller temples or...

     (primary church), dedicated to the Annunciation
    The Annunciation, also referred to as the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Annunciation of the Lord, is the Christian celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, that she would conceive and become the mother of Jesus the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her...

     of the Theotokos
    Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

     (Virgin Mary)
  • The Refectory
    A refectory is a dining room, especially in monasteries, boarding schools and academic institutions. One of the places the term is most often used today is in graduate seminaries...

    , or trapeza
  • The Byzantine period clock tower
  • The 10th century NE tower which now houses the monastery's library
    In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

Treasures held within the monastery

The Monastery of Vatopedi holds a belt held by believers to be the actual belt of the Theotokos, which she wore on earth and gave to Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

 after her death and during her transition to heaven. The silver and jewel-encrusted reliquary
A reliquary is a container for relics. These may be the physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing, or some object associated with saints or other religious figures...

 containing the skull of St. John Chrysostom is kept in the Monastery and is credited by Eastern Orthodox Christians with miraculous healings
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

. The monastery also contains the Iaspis, a chalice
Chalice (cup)
A chalice is a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general religious terms, it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.-Christian:...

 fashioned of a single piece of the precious stone jasper
Jasper, a form of chalcedony, is an opaque, impure variety of silica, usually red, yellow, brown or green in color; and rarely blue. This mineral breaks with a smooth surface, and is used for ornamentation or as a gemstone. It can be highly polished and is used for vases, seals, and at one time for...

, and numerous icons.

Vatopedi's library preserves a medieval royal charter
Medieval Bulgarian royal charters
The medieval Bulgarian royal charters are some of the few secular documents of the medieval Bulgarian Empire . The eight preserved charters all date to the 13th and 14th century, the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire, and were issued by five tsars roughly between 1230 and 1380...

, the 13th-century Vatopedi Charter of Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
Ivan Asen II of Bulgaria
-Early rule:He was a son of Ivan Asen I of Bulgaria and Elena . Elena, who survived until after 1235, is sometimes alleged to be a daughter of Stefan Nemanja of Serbia, but this relationship is questionable and would have caused various canonical impediments to marriages between various descendants...

 dedicated to the monastery. It was discovered in the monastery's archives in 1929.

The library holds 2,000 manuscripts and 35,000 printed books. Among its manuscripts are Uncial 063
Uncial 063
Uncial 063 , ε 64 , is a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament, dated paleographically to the 9th century.- Description :...

 and Uncial 0102
Uncial 0102
Uncial 0102 , ε 42 , is a Greek uncial manuscript of the New Testament. It is dated paleographically to the 7th century.- Description :...


Other manuscripts
  • Minuscule 245
    Minuscule 245
    Minuscule 245 , ε 1226 , is a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament, on parchment. It is dated by a colophon to the year 1199. It has marginalia.- Description :...

  • Minuscule 464
    Minuscule 464
    Minuscule 464 , α 165 , is a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament, on parchment...

  • Lectionary 54
    Lectionary 54
    Lectionary 54, designated by siglum ℓ 54 . It is a Greek manuscript of the New Testament, on paper leaves. It is dated by a colophon to the year 1470.- Description :...

  • Lectionary 55
    Lectionary 55
    Lectionary 55, designated by siglum ℓ 55 , is a Greek manuscript of the New Testament, on paper leaves. It is dated by a colophon to the year 1602.- Description :...

Land deal controversy

In September 2008, the monastery was implicated in a real estate scandal. The monastery traded low-value land for high-value state property in a deal with the New Democracy
New Democracy (Greece)
New Democracy is the main centre-right political party and one of the two major parties in Greece. It was founded in 1974 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and formed the first cabinet of the Third Hellenic Republic...

 government of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. The cost to the state is believed to have been at least €100 million; the financial writer Michael Lewis
Michael Lewis (author)
Michael Lewis is an American non-fiction author and financial journalist. His bestselling books include The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, Panic and Home Game: An...

 reports that a Greek parliamentary commission estimated the value of government property received by the monastery at one billion euros. After the story became public, the government cancelled the land deals and two ministers resigned. Additionally, Parliament
Hellenic Parliament
The Hellenic Parliament , also the Parliament of the Hellenes, is the Parliament of Greece, located in the Parliament House , overlooking Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece....

 voted unanimously to set up a commission to investigate the deal.

Miracle-working icons within the monastery

There are seven icons of the Mother of God
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

in the monastery purported by believers to be miracle-working: Elaiovrytissa, Ktetorissa (Vimatarissa), Esphagmeni, Pantanassa, Pyrovolitheisa, Antiphonitria and Paramythia.

External links

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