The Xenophontos Monastery is one of the twenty monasteries located on the peninsula of Mount Athos in northeastern Greece. The monastery is on southwestern side of the peninsula near St. Panteleimon's Monastery. Xenophontos ranks sixteenth in the hierarchical order on Mount Athos.
First mention of the founding of a monastery was in 998, while the monk Xenophon is credited with building the monastery that bears his name in 1010. After the fall of Constantinople, Xenophontos began a period of hard times as the monastery was alternatively destroyed by pirates and rebuilt. Each time rulers from eastern Europe would fund rebuilding efforts. Such attacks continued until the 18th century.
In the 16th century a katholikon was built near the entrance to the monastery in the southern part of the monastery precinct and dedicated to St. George the Trophybearer. This church featured frescos painted by Antonius of the Cretan school. In the 18th century the monastery began to prosper again and a new katholikon was built. It was also restored between 1817 and 1837. This church remains the largest katholikon on the Holy Mount. This building was located in the northern part of the monastery precinct.
Within the monastery precincts there are eight chapels. Two of these are associated with the old katholikon where the chapels of St. Demetrios and St. Lazaros are within the katholikon. The other six, St. John the Theologian, St. Euphemia, Ss. Cosmos and Damian, the Dormition of of the Virgin, the Presentation of the Virgin, and St. Stephen, are outside it. There are also six chapels outside the precincts of the monastery. Additionally, the skete of the Annunciation or Xenophontos belong to the monastery.
The library of Xenophontos contains over 4,000 printed books and some 300 manuscripts.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).