Monastery of Xenophon


The monastery is located in the southern part of the peninsula between Dohyar and the monastery of St. Panteleimon at the foot of a hill descending to the sea. According to legend, the first temple was erected on this place in 520 Saint Xenophon, a wealthy and noble senator. He dedicated it to the holy martyr Demetrius. Monks consider Saint Xenophon to be the founder of his monastery and annually celebrate the day of his memory on January 26. On the ancient icon of St. George, Saint Xenophon is depicted with this temple in his hands, together with his wife and sons Arkady and John.

There is also a story about a man named Xenophon, a monk of the X century, who is mentioned by the author of the life of St. Athanasius as a monk who healed the brother of St. Theodore of Mylopotam.

For the first time this monastery is mentioned in the act of 1083, in which it is narrated that the famous admiral of the Emperor Nicephorus II Stephen made here monastic vows with the name of Simeon and later became prior. The monastery was restored and expanded, and prosperity before the Turks invaded Greece. In 1784, the monastery of Xenophon was the first which returned to the common organization.

Монастырь Ксенофонт 2014

Монастырь Ксенофонт 1904

The new cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Great Martyr George, was built in 1819 on donation of monastery’s brethren Philotheus. This temple is the largest on Mount Athos, with a beautifully designed iconostasis of colored marble. Next to it stands the first cathedral with the chapel of St. Demetrius. Considered that is the most ancient temple of the monastery. Besides these two temples, the cathedral also has nineteen churches and chapels, a cell in Kara and a Skete of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin.

In the monastery there are two miraculous icons – the Mother of God “Odigitria” and St. George, as well as the relics of the holy Great Martyr George, the apostles Barnabas and Philip, St. Stephen, St. Arcadius (the son of the founder) and other saints. Among the shrines of the monastery is also the icon of the Transfiguration of the Lord, made of wax, mosaic icons of the X-XI centuries. St. George and St. Demetrius.

In the monastery are also preserved the Vain tree, the right hand of Saint Marina, part of the relics of St. George, the right hand of St. Cyric, part of the face of St. Stephen, the face of St. Tryphon, the lower jaws of the Holy Apostles Barnabas and Philip, and others.

The library of the monastery is very rich in ancient manuscripts.

The Skete of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin is an hour’s walk to the east of the monastery of Xenophon. It was founded by the elder monk Sylvester and the elders Agapius and Ephraim in 1766. In the early XX century, thanks to the gift of a rich Russian monk Ioannikii, Skete’s fathers demolished a dilapidated nave. The icons of the Skete temple – St. George and Dimitry were written in the XVIII century by Constantine and Athanasius from Koritsa.

In the monastery are the relics of many Saints: Ambrose, Bishop of Mediolan, Saint Marina, Saint Modest, Cyprian, Cosmas and Holy Fathers, the blood of Saint Demetrious and others.

Now there are thirty-five monks. About sixty people work in the monastery and on its territories.