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Koutloumousiou Monastery


Southwest of Karyes and on the northeastern side of Mt. Athos, amidst the giant trees and in the verdurous hills there is the Koutloumousiou Monastery. The history of the Monastery begun in the 11th or 12th century AD, while a document dated 1169AD already cites its existence. Tradition mentions that the founder of the monastery was a Turk nobleman named Koutloumous, who having been converted to Christianity, founded the monastery and became a monk on Mt. Athos. The monastery shall pass some hard times and then receive the final blow in early 14th century, when it shall be raided by the fierce Catalan pirates. Thus, before the grave economic problems facing the monastery, Protos Isaac will cede to it, for purposes of reinforcement, in 1334 the monasteries of Stavronikita, Prophet Elijah, Anapavsa and Philalelfou. Aspiring to develop the monastery once more, in the middle 14th century, vigorous Abbot Chariton of Imbros shall travel to the lands on the banks of Danube to seek help from their rulers. One of the greatest benefactors to emerge from this quest was Romanian John Vladislav, who will support the monastery considerably. Strong ties were forged with Romania and the monastery shall become the exercise grounds for many Romanian devotees. In early 15th century the Monastery will further flourish, also due to the large number of monks, and it shall request of Patriarch Josef II to annex the deserted monastery of St. Alypius, a request that was granted in 1428 by virtue of a Patriarchal sigillum. It was at this time that the monastery reached its heyday, a period that will be followed by decline and destruction, from fires in 1497 and 1767. The Patriarch of Alexandria Matthaios II, having resigned from the throne, will help with the rebuilding of the destroyed wings. New fires will again destroy parts of the monastery in 1857, 1870 and more recently in 1980. The Catholicon of the Monastery which is dedicated to the Transfiguration of the Savior, is richly illustrated and the icon of the “Mighty Protection” of Our Lady is kept in one of its small chapels. The Skete of Agios Panteleimon is subject to the Koutloumousiou Monastery.