Xeropotamou Monastery (Athos)
The Monastery of Xeropotamou is one of twenty monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula and is located on the southwestern side of the peninsula. It is located on the road from the port of Daphne to the town of Karyes, the administrative center of the monastic republic. It is eighth in hierarchical rank among the monasteries. The katholikon of the monastery is dedicated to the memory of the Forty Holy Martyrs. The feast day is March 9.
While tradition accords its founding to the Empress Pulcheria in mid fifth century, Xeropotamou Monastery is believed to have been established at the end of the tenth century, by a monk named Paulos Xeropotamenos. Xeropotamou prospered until the thirteenth century when it was occupied and pillaged by the Franks. The monastery was supported in a revival in the fourteenth century by the Byzantine Roman Paleologan dynasty and Serbian princes. Then, after the fall of Constantinople further raids by the Turks and major fires in 1507 and 1609 caused major damage to Xeropotamou which had gone in decline.
Kaisarios Dapontes built the katholikon at Xeropotamou between 1761 and 1763. The church is typical of the Anthonite churches on the peninsula. The frescos were finished during the twenty years after the construction of the katholikon and have been kept in very good condition. Across a courtyard in front of the katholikon is the refectory built by the Wallachian abbot Alexander. The monastery suffered damage from fires recently in 1950 and 1973.
There are seven chapels within the monastery proper. These chapels are dedicated to the Archangels, Ss. Constantine and Helen, the Elevation of the Holy Cross, St. John the Baptist, St. Theodosios, St. George, and the Presentation of the Virgin. The monastery has external nine chapels and owns the port of Daphane.
The monastery library and treasury are located above the narthex of the katholikon. The library contains 409 manuscript codices, of which 20 are written on parchment, and some 4,000 printed books. Xeropotamou holds a number of pieces of the True Cross, including the largest piece. This piece, which contains one of the holes left by the nails that fastened Christ to the Cross, is set in a wooden crucifix. Additionally there are many relics of saints, episcopal staffs, vestments and liturgical objects in the monastery treasury.