The Pantokrator Monastery is ranked seventh in the hierarchical order of the twenty monasteries located on the Athos peninsula. As is case of the other institutions on Mount Athos, life at Pantokrator is coenobitic.
The Pantokrator Monastery is located near the Monastery of Stavronikita. The monastery was founded about 1357 by Alexios the Stratopedarch and John the Primikerios. They are buried at the monastery. Their monastery was built on the ruins of monastery of Ravdouchou that had been plundered by pirates during the years of Frankish occupation after the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204.
The katholikon within the monastery walls, which dates from the fourteenth century, is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Our Lord. Due to a paucity of space the church is small. It is of Athonite style and has frescos painted by artists of the Macedonian school. The murals were restored in 1854 by the painter Mathaeos of Naousa.
The refectory was built in 1841. The monastery also has eight chapels within its walls and seven more around the monastery placed among the many hermit huts. The skete of the Prophet Elijah also belongs to the Pantokrator monastery.
Pantokrator monastery was seriously damaged by a fire in 1773 and was repaired by the vestry keeper Kyrillos. Damage from a 1948 fire was repaired by the Restoration Service.
The Pantokrator library holds some 350 codices, two liturgical scrolls, and 3,500 printed books. A few codices have been stolen in recent years. Among the vestments, liturgical objects, and relics of saints, the monastery holds a unique and valuable icon of the Virgin Gerontissa and part of the shield of St. Mercurius.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.