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”.

Monastery Categories

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