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Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy

The Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy, also Athonite Ecclesiastical Academy, at Mount Athos is a school in Karyes that teaches a Greek secondary school curriculum combined with an ecclesiastical education.

St. Athanasius the Athonite


At the time St. Athanasius the Athonite formally established monasticism on Mt. Athos in the tenth century he included a school as part of the Monastery of the Great Lavra. It wasn't, however, until the thirteenth century that a well organized school was established. Based at the Kellion of St. John the Theologian, the school was named "Theological School of Iviron", Ιβηριτική  Θεολογική σχολή and conducted all classes in Greek. This school faded over the following centuries as the monasteries at Mt. Athos were beset with invasions by the muslims and the Latins.

Vatopedi Monastery

In 1749, a renewed interest in a school appeared through the efforts of the fathers of Vatopedi Monastery led by the former abbot Meletius and the issuance by Patriarch Cyril V of Constantinople of a decree for the establishment of a school near the Monastery of Vatopedi. The school was established to teach theology, philosophy, and logic to the monks and to those wishing to become monks.

The hierodeacon Neophytos Kafsokalivitis was the first dean of the school which he led for three years. His successor was Archimandrite Agapios who became the first martyr of the school. He was martyred in Thermi on August 18, 1752 by the Ottoman Turks as he traveled to Mt. Athos to assume his new position.

Eugenios Voulgaris, eminent 18th c. theologian and scholar ("Teacher of the Nation"), and Archbishop of Cherson, Ukraine.

Early in 1753, the Hierodeacon Eugenios Voulgaris, later archbishop, was appointed dean of the school that he named the Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy, the title that the school has retained to this day. Under his leadership the academy drew many students and gained fame not only in the Orthodox world but in much of Europe. Among those who graduated from the academy were many who were to establish other schools and seminaries including St. Cyril Papadopoulos, the founder of the Monastery "Megalou Dendrou" in Paros, and Metr. Constantine Tipaldos of Stavropoulis, who was the first dean of the seminary established on the island of Poros,

After Voulgaris left the academy, it began a slowly decline. In 1771, St. Athanasius Parios was appointed dean. Among the teachers at Athoniada was hierodeacon Kyprianos of Cyprus. During this period the former Metropolitan of Corinth, St. Macarius Notaras, was the spiritual guide of Athoniada.

In 1799, the academy closed and remained so through the decades of the Greek war for independence. In 1832, a school at Mt. Athos began operation as a kind of seminary. However, it wasn't until 1953 that the academy reopened and given the name Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy. The academy now occupies a wing of the Skete of St. Andrew in Karyes. It follows the Greek secondary school curriculum which is combined with an ecclesiastical education. The staff consists of six teachers with a student body of about 100 students.