Monastery of Vatopedi


Vatopedi is one of the largest monasteries of Mount Athos. It is located on the east coast of the peninsula between the monasteries of Esfigmen and Pantokrator. The road to the monastery is a small journey through a silent mysterious forest (three hours’ walk from the town of Karei). The cathedral church of the monastery dates back to the 10th century and is named after the Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos.

According to one of the legends, Vatopedi was founded as a monastery by the Emperor Theodosius (379-395). The Emperor had three children: Arkady, Honorius and Plakidia. Having married his daughter, he sent a young couple with their two sons to Rome. On the way back from Rome to Constantinople near the town of Imbros, Arcady washed overboard during the storm. The ship found shelter from the storm near the place where Vatopedi monastery stands now. Immersed in the mourning, the courtiers saw Arkady, who slept under a bush of kumanyks. Arkady described how the Most Holy Mother of God saved him miraculously. In gratitude, the Emperor erected a monastery on this site (which was called “vato-pedi” “vato” – a tree, “pedi” – a child). Vatopedi in its present form was built in the second half of the 10th century by three monks from Andrianopolis: Athanasius, Nicholas and Antony. The two most famous saints of Vatopedi, monks Simeon and Sawa – father and son – Serbs of royal origin, came here in the late XII century. Vatopedi has eventually given them the destroyed monastery of Hilandar, and they restored it, having received funds from the Serbian nobility.

The cathedral, built in the X century, has preserved the frescoes of the XIV century of Macedonian school and the beautiful Byzantine mosaic. On the Holy Mountain this is the only place where there is a mosaic of this type. Inside the cathedral there are five churches and a chapel of saints Kozma and Damian and a chapel of the Holy Belt in which the belt of the Most Holy Theotokos was presented to the monastery by the Serbian leader Lazarus I. This belt Beloved Mother, after her Dormition, bequeathed the Holy Apostle Thomas. It is made of camel hair and smell wonderful, unearthly fragrance. The belt was divided into three parts in order to exclude the possibility of its loss.

Ватопед – 2014
Монастырь Ватопед
Ватопед – 1904
Монастырь Ватопед
Монастырь Ватопед

On the territory of the monastery there are a lot of small chapels, a library of manuscripts and a rich storehouse of precious church objects. In the library, besides 2300 manuscripts, 10.000 printed editions, a special jewel is kept – a copy of the Ptolemaic geography with maps.

In Vatopedi, the relics of St. Gregory the Theologian, the Holy Great Martyr Kharalampy, the Holy Great Martyr Panteleimon, the Great Martyr Demetrius, Andrew of Crete, Modest of Jerusalem, the relics of St. Eudoxia of Vatopedi, the image of the Empress Theodora, the wife of Theophilus, the cup of Iaspis are the gift of Emanuel Comnenus Palaeologus.

Among the miraculous icons of the monastery is the icon Theomotors “Pyrovolitisas” – shooted. Another miraculous icon – the Virgin “Paramytyas” – fabulous. Icon of the Mother of God “Antiphonitria” – answering. Her voice was heard when the daughter of Theodosius the Great, Planidia, wished to pass the nave of the temple. “Why do you want to let our enemies say that a female foot has stepped here? Stop it! Do not go further! “According to legend, from that moment the prohibition of women entering the Holy Land of Athos was instituded.

In addition to the farmhouse outside the Holy Mountain, Vatopedi owns 27 cells and two Sketes dedicated to St. Dimitry and St. Andrew.

The skete of St. Dimitry is located half an hour walk to the mountain. The temple was built by the descendants of the Holy Great Martyr Dimitry of Thessaloniki. Traditionally, their families spent centuries (until 1821) sent to the monastery donations to pay for the expenses associated with celebrating the day of memory of their holy ancestor.

The skete of St. Andrew is bigger. His cathedral is the largest on Athos and one of the most magnificent in the Eastern Christian world.