Tuesday, August 25, 2015

0066 - The Largest Piece of the True Cross Of Christ - Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou Mount Athos

The Largest Piece of the True Cross Of Christ - Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou Mount Athos

In the Catholicon (Main Church) of the Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou, 13 pieces of the True Cross of Jesus Christ are treasured, 4 large pieces in ancient reliquaries and 9 smaller pieces which are also housed in reliquaries with other Relics of Saints. 

It is quite likely that all of these pieces of The True Cross were originally one large and unique piece, most likely of the piece that was donated to the Monastery by the Eastern Roman Emperor (Byzantine) Romanos 1st Lekapinos.

The First and largest of these pieces is considered to be the largest piece of the True Cross of Christ in the world, and at the lower section of it, one of the holes that was created by the nails that pierced Christ’s Holy Body can be seen. 

 It has the shape of a Cross and is encased in a pure gold inner casing which has been designed in order to display the entire piece of the True Cross. It has a length of 31cm and at its widest part it is 16cm wide. The entire piece weighs 320 grams.

This piece of the True Cross never leaves the Monastery and is only displayed on Feast days of the Monastery and during the Feast days of The Holy Cross. 

The second largest piece of the True Cross of Christ which is kept at the Holy Monastery, also has the shape of a Cross and is encased almost entirely in gold except for a small section which is left open to be venerated by the faithful. This is the piece that is taken out of Mount Athos, when requested by various Metropolises and cities outside of Mount Athos. 

We are all aware of the myriads of miracles that are attributed to the True Cross of Our Lord, however, this piece of the True Cross has a miraculous characteristic, it exudes a faint fragrance which is not anything like a natural or made perfume. This is witnessed by the majority of the faithful that have the opportunity to venerate It. 

The reliquary in which the second piece is housed also has small piece of the Holy relics of the 40 Martyrs and the relic of St. Modest Archbishop of Jerusalem the Martyr who is considered the protector of animal farmers. 

 Every year on Palm Sunday, thousands of people gather in the village of Petrokerasa in Greece to welcome the Holy Cross of The Monastery of Xeropotamou. The welcoming ceremony is a momentous event organised with Ecclesiastical grandeur and spirituality. The journey, welcoming ceremony and hosting of the True Cross of the Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou occurs every year without fail to this village from the year 1768 and probably even longer every Palm Sunday. 

This ancient tradition, in which the Fathers of The Holy Monastery keep true to, is done in the same manner and tradition which has been handed down and historically documented since 1768. 
This is due to a great miracle that occurred in the 18th century in this village. The village was plagued by a deadly disease which was affecting all of the inhabitants. The Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou was contacted by the villagers in order to bring the True Cross to the Village in order to bless it. The Fathers, immediately after receiving word, and with great honours and a Grand procession, brought the piece of The True Cross to the village and upon Its procession around the village, the village was saved and the disease that plagued its inhabitants was eradicated in miraculous circumstances due to the presence of the True Cross. 

In memory of this great miracle, the True Cross of the Holy Monastery of Xeropotamou Mount Athos is taken to the same village every year to be venerated by the villagers and faithful. 

Photos and original Greek text courtesy of

Thursday, April 16, 2015

0065 - Arrival of Copy of Miraculous Icon of Panagia Portaitisjsa in Australia.

Με λαμπρότητα Υποδέχτηκε η Μελβούρνη Την Παναγία Πορταΐτισσα                      

Την Τρίτη Διακαινησίμου, 14η Απριλίου με την ευλογία του Σεβασμιωτάτου Αρχιεπισκόπου Αυστραλίας, κ.κ. Στυλιανού, ο Ιερός Ναός Κοιμήσεως Της Θεοτόκου North Altona υποδέχθηκε με λαμπρότητα, πλήθους κόσμου και Εκκλησιαστική Μεγαλοπρέπεια, αντίγραφο της Ιεράς Εικόνας της Παναγίας Πορταΐτισσας τήν οποία, εστάλλει ως ευλογία απο την Ιερά Βασιλική και Σταυροπηγιακή Μονή Ιβήρων του Αγίου Όρους. Ο Ιερός Ναός έχει αφιερωμένο ένα παρρεκλήσιον προς τιμήν Της Παναγίας Πορταΐτισσας. 

Στήν υποδοχή, ενθρόνιση και Πανυγηρικό Εσπερινό, προηξήρχε ο Θεοφιλέστατος Επίσκοπος της Ρουμανικής Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας εν Αυστραλία κ.κ.Μιχαήλ και παρουσία  των Θεοφιλεστάτων Επισκόπων Δέρβης κ.κ. Ιεζεκιήλ και Μιλητουπόλεως κ.κ. Ιακώβου. Ο Πανυγηρικός Εσπερινός είχε Πανορθόδοξο χαρακτήρα, καθώς συμμετείχανε πολλοί Ιερείς της Αντιοχειανής Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας, της Ρουμανικής Ορθόδοξης Εκκλησίας και Ιερέων της Ιεράς Αρχιεπισκοπής μας. Η Βυζαντινή Χορωδία της Αρχιεπισκοπής έψαλλε με τήν συμμετοχή και αποφοίτων της Αθωνιάδος Εκκλησιαστικής Ακαδημίας, Αγίου Όρους.

Στήν εκφώνησή του, ο Θεοφιλέστατος Επίσκοπος Δέρβης κ.κ. Ιεζεκιήλ, ευχαρίστησε των Επίσκοπο Μιχαήλ και τόνισε τήν συμαντική ευλογία που έχουμε.

Στο πέρας του Πανηγυρικού εσπερινού συνέχισε ολονύχτιος αγρυπνία την οποία ετέλεσε ο Αρχιμανρίτης Π. Συνέσιος Φράγκος.

Την επόμενη ημέρα, Τετάρτη της Διακαινισίμου, τελέσθηκε Όρθρος και Πανηγυρική Θεία Λειτουργία προεξάρχοντος του Θεοφιλεστάτου Επισκόπου Μιλητουπόλεως κ.κ. Ιακώβου με τήν συμμετόχη του Πρεσβυτέρου Π. Εμμανουήλ Λυκοπάντη και Π. Γεωργίου Φράγκου προΐσταμένου του Ναού. Λάμπρηναν την εορτή Απόφοιτοι της Αθωνιάδος Εκκλησιαστικής Ακαδημίας, Αγίου Όρους, οι οποίοι έψαλλαν με κατάνυξη και Αγιορείτικο ύφος.
Στόν λόγο του, ο Θεοφιλέστατος Επίσκοπος Μιλητουπόλεως κ.κ. Ιάκωβος, διηγήθηκε την Ιστορία του Ιερού Εικονίσματος στο εκκλησίασμα και τόνισε την συμαντική Ευλογία που έχει ο Ναός και η παροικία γενικώς.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fr George - My absence and return.

It's been a while since my last post and I assure you that I will continue my series
on the miraculous Icons of Mount Athos. In the meantime see photos of what has been taking up the majority of my time.

Έχει περάσει πολύς καιρούς από την τελευταία ανάρτηση μου αλλά σας βεβαιώνω ότι θα συνεχίσω την σειρά ανάρτησεων σχετικά με τις Θαυματουργικες Εικόνες του Αγίου Όρους. Προς το παρόν σας δείχνω φωτογραφίες από το έργο που παίρνει τον περισσότερο χρόνο που έχω.

My church the last time I showed it to you just after my ordination to the Priesthood.

The church as it is today, a few more months and God Willing we will be finished.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

0064 - Photos of the water mill where Saint Silouanos The Athonite worked.

A small distance from the Holy Monastery of St. Panteleimon (Russian) the old water mill of the Russian Monastery is found.

This water mill was the place where Saint Silouanos the Athonite, practiced strict asceticism.

It is noteworthy to mention what Gerasimos Smirnakis (Historian) writes regarding the enormous production of flour this water mill produced "The water mill produced enough flour to create bread and feed 120,000 people a month" A very large sum, even by todays standards.

The Russian website published photos of the water mill, which we have re-posted in this space. 
Original post in Greek:

Photo Source:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

0063 - The Holy Icon of Panagia Gerontissa, Holy Monastery of Pantocratoros Mount Athos

The Holy and miraculous Icon of Panagia Gerontissa is located at the Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros, Mount Athos and is the Monastery’s most valued possession.

Tradition states that the Icon was donated to the Monastery by the Roman (Byzantine) Emperor Alexios Komninos the 1st.  It is a copy of the mosaic Icon of Panagia which was located at the Pantocratoros Monastery in Constantinople, which was built by the same emperor.

It is the only ancient Icon on Mount Athos that depicts the Theotokos in full and in a prayer pose (Deisis).

The first miracle attributed to the Icon dates back to the time of emperor Alexios Komninos the 1st, when he instructed that the Monastery be built 500 metres from where it stands on a rise where the current chapel of St. Athanasius of Alexandria stands.
During construction, every evening after the workers had departed the building site, their tools and the Icon would disappear from the current site and re-appear 500 metres away at the current site of the Monastery. This happened many times until the emperor came to the realization that the Icon of Panagia Gerontissa wanted the monastery in the location It was showing. As a result, the Monastery was built in its current location.

The Holy Icon’s original position was in the sanctuary behind the altar table. One day the Abbot of the Monastery who was very old, ill and frail, realizing that his death was near, asked the presiding Priest serving the liturgy, to speed up the Liturgy as he wanted to take Communion before he passed away. The presiding Priest did not listen to the Abbots request.

Then miraculously, Panagia, speaking through Her Holy Icon, commanded the Priest to speed up the liturgy.  The Priest, immediately obeyed, and shortly after the old and frail Abbot took Holy Communion, he passed away. This is why the Holy Icon was named Gerontissa, due to its relationship with the then Geronta (Abbot) of the Monastery. The Hoy Icon of Panagia Gerontissa was then placed outside of the sanctuary and on the left hand side marble pole of the main church, where it remains to this day.

The Holy Icon was covered in an all silver oklad (cover) with the donations of a noble woman of Constantinople.
The amphora (water jug) that appears carved on the silver cover, was depicted in order to commemorate another miracle performed by the Holy Icon in the 17th century. The Monastery was short of oil for its daily use, and its monks decided to leave the Monastery in favour of other Monasteries that had all they needed.

The Abbot of the time appealed to the monks to trust in the providence of Panagia Gerontissa, and he prayed with all his heart for Panagia to provide for her Monastery. Some days later, one of the remaining monks saw oil coming out from under the door where the oil was kept. He opened the door and seen that the large oil container was so full that the oil was spilling from it onto the floor. From that time onwards and for the next 300 years, the monastery has never been out of oil.
Another miracle attributed to the Holy Icon of Panagia Gerontissa dates back to the evening of December the 1st 1948, when fire surrounded the Monastery, however the Monastery remained without any damage.

The Holy Icon of Panagia Gerontissa was placed inside a custom stand made of marble which was donated by the former Abbot of the Monastery Theofilos of Limnos. In 1997, the Icon was removed from the marble stand after 200 years under the supervision of the Archaeological institute. After months of tests and carbon dating the Holy Icon was confirmed to be from the 11th century, precisely in the reign of the Emperor Alexios Komnenos the 1st. 

The Icon in its current form was altered when the silver oklad (cover, poukamison) was added in the 19th century. It was crafted in St. Petersburg and is of priceless value. The face of Panagia and Her hands were repainted in order to match with the new silver cover. The archaeologists have discovered fragments of the original painting also.  

 Many miracles are attributed to the Holy Icon of Panagia Gerontissa, which is clearly visible due to the amount of gifts that have been left before the Icon.

Panagia’s face as depicted on the Holy Icon of Panagia Gerontissa, has a sweet and merciful expression leaving every pilgrim with a sense of happiness, hope and comfort.