The Dochiariou Monastery is located on the southwestern coast of the Athos Peninsula in northern Greece. It is ranked tenth in the hierarchical order of the twenty monasteries located on the peninsula.
The origins of Dochiariou Monastery can be traced to the 10th century. The circumstances of its founding are varied. One variant is that the monastery was originally founded near the port of Daphne at the end of the tenth century by Euthymios, who was a pupil of St. Athanasius the Athonite, and a 'dohiaris', that is one who made 'dohia'. Another attributes the founding of the monastery to the monk Daniel of Dochiariou between 1030-1032. Another, that it was named after a monk, Athanasio Lavrioti, who was responsible for the keeping of the wine and oil supplies.
The monastery went into decline shortly after its founding, probably plundered by pirates during the years of Frankish occupation of Mount Athos after the Latin conquest of Constantinople in 1204. The surviving monks then began the present monastery. During the fourteenth century Dochiariou received support from emperor John Paleologos V and Stephen IV of Serbia. The katholikon for the monastery was built in the mid sixteenth century (1568) with financial aid from Alexander and Roxandra of Moldavia and John Lapousneanos. The frescos of the katholikon were painted by the Cretan painter Tzortzis. Then during the occupation of Mount Athos by the Ottoman sultan during the Greek war for independence in 1821, Dochiariou lost all its property.
The katholikon, which was built on the foundation of an earlier church, is dedicated to the archangels, Ss. Michael and Gabriel. The feast day is November 8. The church style follows that of the other Athonite katholikons. The katholikon is the largest among those monasteries on Mount Athos. The murals in the katholikon were done by George the Cretan in 1568, with further work done in 1783. The refectory was built at the same time as the katholikon. The murals in the refectory were done in 1675. There are ten chapels in the monastery.
The Dochiariou monastery library holds 441 manuscripts of which 395 are catalogued, 100 codices, and 1,500 printed books. The monastery also holds many valuable vestments, liturgical objects, and relics of saints. Also, among the treasures is a fragment of the True Cross and the icon of the Virgin Gorgoepikoos which is in the chapel near the entrance to the Katholikon that is dedicated to the Panagia (Virgin Mary).References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.