The Monastery of Simonopetra stands in an imposing manner at the western part of Agion Oros, at an elevation of 230m from the sea. It is one of the most impressive and difficult – to – build buildings of its era, worldwide.
It is also said that this Monastery is the first “block of flats” in all over the world, as it is a seven – floor building that rises up to the sky in an imposing grandeur. On this stiff and big rock, saint Simon Mirovlitis (the Myrrh – exuding who celebrates on 28th December), who was a hermit in a nearby cave that exists till now, was driven by the divine light and built his Monastery, his “New Bethlehem” in the middle of the 13th century.
The Monastery is dedicated to the Birth of Jesus Christ. It has been burnt and rebuilt a lot of times, as, according to a prophecy of its owner, Saint Simon, the Monastery would be in danger a lot of times because of fire, but never because of earthquakes.
As far as relics are concerned, in the Monastery there is a piece of the Cross of Jesus Christ, holy relics of Saints (as for example the incorruptible left hand of Saint Mary Magdalene who was equal to the Apostles) and different other relics. The library had been considered very important until the last fire.
The Monastery has got a significant number of dependencies out of Agion Oros, as for example the church of Agios Haralambos in Thessaloniki, the church of Analipsi (Ascension Day) in Athens, the Monastery of Evangelismos (Annunciation) at Ormilia of Halkidiki as well as other three Monasteries in France.
Today, 60 monks live in the Monastery. During the last decades, the Monastery has been flourishing spiritually under the guidance of Elder Emilianos Simonopetritis. Today, archimandrite Elisseos is the abbot of the Monastery. Also, the monks of the Monastery are famous for their excellent quality of chanting at church.