St. Panteleimon’s monastery in Mount Athos consists with its astonishing buildings a spiritual lighthouse and significant pilgrimage for the whole Russian people.
It is built in a little haven between the St. Xenophon’s monastery and the port of Daphne and it is dedicated to the respective saint. The monastery gives the impression of a small town with its many and multi-storey buildings and its tall church domes.
The catholicon, i.e. the main church, was built in the early 19th century and it is decorated with russian art frescoes. The monastery has 15 chapels and 5 cells, 2 of which are located in Karyes. It also owns a dependency in Chromitsa, the skete of the Woodcutter or of the Theotokos, the New Thebais and the so called Palaeomonastiron (i.e. the Old Monastery).
The monastery was burnt in the 13th century and its reconstruction was financially supported by Andronikos II Palaeologus and some Serbian princes. The monks were Greeks and Russians, whereas the latter came to outnumber the Greeks in 1497. In the 18th century, the monastery passed again in greek hands, but in 1875 Russians took it on once more.
Many portable icons and a plethora of relics and holy vestments are in the property of the monastery. Its library has 1320 greek manuscripts, 60 slavic ones and more than 20,000 books in greek and russian.
The largest bell in the Balkans is in the monastery, located in the first storey of the bell tower above the Dining Hall. It weighs 13 tons, while its diameter is 2.70 m. and its circumference 8.71 m. At least 2 monks are needed to ring it.
Nowadays, a fraternity of dozens of Russian monks inhabit the monastery