Hilandar Monastery

Mount Athos, Greece

Hilandar Monastery is the northern most monastery located on the northeast side of the Athos Peninsula. The monastery was founded in 1198 by saints Sava and Simeon. The Monastery has been supported and populated by Serbian monkssince then. It is ranked fourth in the hierarchical order of the twenty monasteries located on the Mount Athos peninsula.

After forming the Serbian state Stephen Nemanja, the Grand Župan of Serbia, in the Council of Ras in 1196 established the basis for smooth successions of power within the state. He, then, abdicated in favor of his middle son Stefan and proceeded to pursue a life of spirituality and pray as the monk Simeon. He joined his youngest son, Rastko, who earlier had taken the monastic name of Sava and lived on Mount Athos. With the approval of the Emperor Alexius III Angelicus, who in his chrysobull of 1198 declared Hilandar as an independent monastery dedicated to the Serbians, the father and son began restoring the ruins of the old monastery as the foundation of the present day community.

Hilandar became the spiritual and religious center for the Serbs. In 1430, the Holy Mountain of Athos was occupied by the Ottoman Turks. While the Turks did not interfere with the autonomy of the monastic communities the monks were affected by the lost of income from their estates that had been taken by the occupying Turks. Thus, their survival became difficult under the new overlords. The monastery remained a symbol of Serbian culture and religious continuity and was endowed by Serbian rulers through the centuries.

Whereas most of the monastic communities on Mount Athos are built on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, Hilandar is located a few kilometers in land. The complex includes within its protective walls a katholikon and a number of small chapels, as well as cells for the monks, guest quarters, a library, treasury, and a hospital.

On March 4, 2004, a major fire sweeps through the monastery that destroyed about half the structures in the monastery. The medieval heirlooms and relics that made up the treasures of the monastery were moved to safety, but major damage was done to the abbot's cell and guest rooms as well as four chapels with the 17th and 18th century frescoes. Restoration of the damage is on going.

The monastery possesses over 1,000 thirteenth- to eighteenth-century Byzantine and Serbian icons as well as sacred objects, various artifacts, and historical documents. Many of these dated from the thirteenth century. The library contains a collection of books and some 1,000 manuscripts including Cyrillic manuscripts and the first printed books in Serbian. The library also holds many books in Russian, Bulgarian, and Greek.

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Mount Athos, Greece
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Founded: 1198
Category: Religious sites in Greece

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4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Vladimir Loncarevic (5 months ago)
Way of life
Zlatko Vujičić (12 months ago)
Nature of orthodox chritianity
Predrag Popovic (18 months ago)
Holy Mountain - Athos , Greece Saint Symeon & Saint Sava Serbian ; Stefan Nemanja & Rastko Nemanijc The Hilandar Monastery is the Serbian Orthodox monastery in Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by first Archbishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church Saint Sava and his father and founder of the Nemanjić dynasty Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja, who upon relinquishing his crown, took monastic vows to become ordinary monk Symeon in Hilandar. This monastery represents a focal point of Serbian religious and secular culture,[1] as well as "the first Serbian university".It is ranked fourth in the Athonite hierarchy of 20 sovereign monasteries.The Mother of God through her Icon of the Three Hands (Trojeručica), is considered the monastery's abbess The monastery was founded in 1198 when, prompted by the Mount Athos monastic community, Byzantine Emperor Alexios III Angelos (1195–1203) issued a golden sealed chrysobulls donating the ancient monastery Helandaris, "to the Serbs as an eternal gift...," thereby designating it, "to serve the purpose of accepting the people of Serbian descent, who seek to pursue the monastic way of life, as monasteries belonging to Iberia and Amalfi endure on the Mount, exempt from any authority, including the authority of Protos." Hilandar was thereby handed over to Saint Sava and Saint Symeon with the purpose of establishing and endowing new monastery, which was elevated to the imperial rank. Since then, the monastery became a cornerstone of religious, educational and cultural life of Serbian people. Stefan Nemanja, Grand Prince of Serbia The ancient pre-Serbian monastery Helandaris was first mentioned in one Greek manuscript from 1015 as being "completely abandoned and empty" which is why it had to be placed under temporary authority of the Konstamonitou monastery. Certain George Chelandarios (the Boatman), who was held in high esteem by the Athonites in 980, was probably the original founder of this ancient monastery prior to the arrival of Serbs. The monastery's church was already dedicated to the Entry of the Lady Theotokos into the Temple (November 21). Soon thereafter the monastery became a prey of continuous looting by the pirates. Upon securing Serbian authority within the monastery, Saint Sava and Saint Symeon jointly constructed the monastery's Church of the Entry of the Lady Theotokos into the Temple between 1198-1200, while also adding Saint Sava's Tower, the Kambanski Tower and Saint Symeon's monastic chambers - cells. Saint Symeon's middle son and Saint Sava's older brother, Serbian Grand Prince Stefan "the First-Crowned" King provided financial resources for this restoration. As Hilandar's founder, Saint Symeon issued a special founding charter or chrysobulls, which survived until World War II, when it was destroyed as a result of the Operation Retribution and the notorious April 6, 1941 German bombing of Belgrade that leveled to the ground the National Library of Serbia building in Kosancicev Venac. Following 1199, hundreds of monks from Serbia moved to the monastery, while large pieces of land, metochions and tax proceeds from numerous villages were provided to the monastery, especially from the Metohija region of Serbia Saint Symeon died in the monastery on February 13, 1200 where he was buried next to the main church of the Entry of the Lady Theotokos into the Temple. His body remained in Hilandar until 1208 when his myrrh-flowing remains were transferred to Serbia and interred into the mother-church of all Serbian churches the Studenica Monastery according to his original desire, which he previously completed in 1196 Following the relocation of Saint Symeon's remains, what would eventually become world-famous grapevines began growing on the spot of his old tomb, which gives to this day miraculous grapes and seeds that are shipped all over as a form of blessing to childless married couples Following his father's death, Saint Sava moved to his Karyes hermitage cell,.
Ivica Veličković (2 years ago)
Life changing experience...
Alexander Potapov (2 years ago)
Great place, I stayed for one night. Unimaginable.
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