Iviron Monastery (Athos)

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Revision as of 15:50, June 19, 2006

The Iviron Monastery is one of the twenty monasteries located on the peninsula of Mount Athos in northeastern Greece. The monastery is located on an inlet on the northeast side of the peninsula and is third in precedence among the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos.

Iviron was established late in the tenth century on the site of an earlier monastery, the monastery of Clement. The monastery was founded by two Georgian (Iberian) monks, Ionnis and Euthyminus. Two chapels, Panaghia and John the Precursor, are from this early period. Located in the center of the monastery court the katholikon of the monastery was originally built in the first half of the eleventh century and restored in 1513 by the Iberian monk George Varasvatzes who was the abbot of the monastery for many years. The katholikon is dedicated to the memory of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The monastery celebrates its feast day on August 15, the dormition of Virgin Mary.

The monastic community is charged with restoration of damaged and ruined buildings in its care around the main monastery complex. Also, the skete of St. John the Baptist belongs to the monastery.

The monastery is noted for many of its architectural features, including the columns in the nave, the post-Byzantine iconostasis of wood, the carved door into the inner narthex, and the katholikon frescos. Especially of note is the seven-branched silver lampstand that was presented by the people of Moscow in 1818 to Archimandrite Cyril for his monastery. The lampstand is shaped in the form of a lemon tree with thirty glided lemons on it. Additionally, Iviron houses one of the richest and most valuable collection of investments and treasures among the communities on Mount Athos.

The monastery also has a library of over 15,000 printed books as well as more than 2,000 parchment manuscripts and other codices, including some one hundred Georgian language parchment texts. The library also holds a number of documents from the early imperial and patriarchal periods including a number of chrysobulls.

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