It is estimated that there are more than 550 monasteries currently operating in Greece, which constitute the country’s spiritual lungs. The monks and nuns living in them total about 3,500 people, of which 1,500 are on Mount Athos.
Orthodox monasteries have a closed shape (squared, rectangle or irregular), consisted of cells, hostels, warehouses, environing a courtyard, in the middle of which stands the Catholicon, this is, the main church of the onastery.
Another important monasterial building, apart from the monastic cells (for the accommodation of the monks), is the Dining Hall, where monks and visitors dine together. The Catholicon is located in the middle of the courtyard thereby expressing its dominant position in the monasterial complex. Opposite to the front door of the Catholicon stands the fountain, with running water ready to quench your thirst. The reception of the pilgrims is done in the guesthouse, called “Archontariki”.
There are monasteries both for men and women, which can be divided mainly into coenobetic and idiorrhythmic. In coenobitic ones, there is a common ownership, whereas in the idiorrhythmic the monks work separately, in order to make their living. The coenobitic type is prevalent and has been increasing throughout the latest decades.
The monasteries are ruled by the abbot (or the abbess), which is elected by all monks. Along with the abbot there is a council. Every monk has his own duties in the monastery, which is called “diaconima.”
Monasteries whose building was funded by a king or emperor are called “royal”, while those subordinated not to the local bishop but directly to the Ecumenical Patriarch or the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece are called “stauropegial”.
Phonebook of the Monasteries of Mount Athos
PREFIX: +30 23770
Great Lavra Monastery 22-586 & 23-761
Vatopedi Monastery 41-488
Iviron monastery 23-643 & 23-644
Philotheou monastery 23-256 & 23-675
Xiropotamou monastery 23-251
Esphigmenou monastery 23-796 & 23-938 (Representation in Karyes 23229 & 23653)
Docheiariou monastery 23-245
Karakallou monastery 23-225
St. Paul’s monastery 23-250 & 23-609
Xenofontos monastery 23-249 & 23-632
Konstamonitou monastery 23-228
St. Panteleimon monastery (Russian) 23-252 & 23-682
Chilandar monastery 23-797
Pantokratoros monastery 23-252 & 23-682
Simonopetra monastery 23-252 & 23-682
Dionysiou monastery 23-687 & 23-688
Osiou Grigoriou monastery 23-218 & 23-670 & 23-668
Stavronikita monastery 23- 255
Koutloumousiou 23-226 & 23-732
Zograf monastery (Bulgarian) 23-247
In order for a pilgrim to enter Mount Athos, he must first contact the Pilgrims’ Office in Thessaloniki for the issuance of a special Athonite visa, called Diamonitirio, as well as the Holy Monastery he intends to visit so as to book his accommodation.
Pilgrims’ Office, Thessaloniki, Tel.: (+30) 2310252575, 2310252578, Fax: (+30) 2310222424
Pilgrims’ Office, Ouranoupolis, Tel.: (+30) 2377071422
Chalkidiki Intercity Buses, Office in Thessaloniki, Tel.: (+30) 2310316575