Vatopedi Monastery (Athos)
The Monastery of Vatopedi is one of twenty monasteries on the Mount Athos peninsula and is located on the northeastern side of the peninsula. It is second in hierarchical rank among the monasteries. The name of Vatopedi is derived from the flora of the surrounding countryside (‘‘vatos’’ = shrub, ‘‘pedion’’ = plain or ground).
The monastery was founded in 972 by three monks, Athanasius, Nicholas, and Antonius who were students of St. Anthanasius of Lavra and operates as a coenobium. The major parts of the monastery were constructed during the Byzantine period and then later during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when it reached its peak. The monastery is monumental in size with a tall wall in which the buildings are placed in triangular form.
The katholikon was built in the tenth century in the Athonite style. It is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The katholikon still retains some mosaics from the Byzantine period. There are nineteen chapels within and outside the monastery proper, with five within the katholikon. The Greek skete of St. Demetrius and the Russian skete of St. Andrew (Serri) belong to Vatopedi.
In addition to many relics, the monastery possesses a library of over 10,000 printed books and about 1,700 manuscripts.