The Holy Monastery of Vatopedi (or Vatopedi) is the 2nd in the hierarchy of the monasteries of Mount Athos. It is located in the northeastern side of the peninsula. Its katholikon is dedicated to “Evaggelismos” of the Virgin Mary.
According to Mount Athos patriography, where the monastery is located today, the monastery was built by Emperor M. Constantine in the 4th century AD, which was destroyed by Emperor Julian the Infantry. According to the same tradition, Emperor Theodosius the Great rebuilt by gratitude for the miraculous rescue of his son Arkadios who, fell from his ship in the archipelagos and came to the land safe thanks to the brothels of the Virgin Mary who carried him next to a bush. From this tradition is also written the name of the monastery “Vatopaidion”. The etymology of the most common Vatopedi is because of rich vegetation and ponds around the monastery, which still exists today.
A newer tradition is that this monastery was ravaged by the Saracens along with other monasteries of Mount Athos in 862 AD and rebuilt due to the support of three nobles who came to live on Mount Athos from Adrianople in the 10th century. and spent on reconstruction 3,000 gold coins. The names of these monks are Nikolaos, Athanasios and Antonios. The katholikon of the monastery was rebuilt over the ruins of an early Christian basilica. His frescoes are from the beginning of 1312, the so-called Macedonian School. The frescoes of the Katholikon’s austere are without epigraphies, while most of the others were epigraphically, sometimes repeatedly. Its marbled flooring is of one of a kind art. The earliest known testimony of the existence of the Vatopedi monastery dates back in 985, in a document where there is the signature of the first abbot, and one of the founders.
The Vatopedi monastery has a total of thirty-three chapels. Twelve are out of the monastery and the rest in the building complex. Five are embedded in the Katholikon (St. Demetrius, St. Nicholas, Paramythias, St. Archangel and St. Trinity) and three in their defensive towers (Genesis of the Virgin Mary, Metamorphosis and Holy Prodromos). On the wings of the Monastery there are eleven chapels. One of them is St. Andrew’s, with a beautiful wood-carved icon. Finally two are in the yard. One is the Agia Zoni and the other of the Saints Anargyroi. The beautiful wood-carved iconostasis of the chapel of the Agia Zoni is of 1816. It is considered one of the most beautiful of Mount Athos. The cemetery temple is dedicated to the Holy Apostoles.
In the Monastery there are eight miraculous icons of the Virgin Mary, such as Vimatarissas, Antifonitrias, Paramythia, Pantanassas, Elaiovritissas, Pirovolithisas, Theodorskagias and Esfagmenis. The monastery has as a great treasure of Agia Zoni of the Virgin, to which many miracles are attributed. The Emperor John Kantakouzenos donated Agia Zoni to the monastery .
The library of Vatopedi monastery and the archives of the monastery of Vatopedi are housed in one of the monastery’s defensive towers and two other buildings. It contains 2,050 manuscripts, of which one third is written in parchment and 25 parchment scrolls. There are kept some of the 60,000 forms, many of which are archetypal. The archives of the monastery include three hundred and ten thousand documents.
The Vatopedi monastery has two Sketes: the Skete of Agios Dimitrios and the Skete of St. Andrew. It also has twenty-six Kelia and eleven Skites. There are eight Kelia in the Kolitsos area. Two of them are in Gyptadika area and two in Karyes. The Monastery has a set of over 160 people.
The monastery has 104 monks and 12 cadets (November 2012). The parts of the monastery (Skites,Kelia etc.) have around 50 monks, many of whom are Romanians. The monastery belongs to the Saint Catherine’s Cloister, once inhabited by thousands of Russian monks, and today it is inhabited by about 20 Greek monks.
In the Monastery there are the three unique mosaics of Mount Athos from the Byzantine era (10th – 14th centuries) and the frescoes of the Macedonian School (1312) located in the monastery’s catholic church, the sacred sacristy, the monastery’s museum and the oldest bell tower of Mount Athos. In the temple there is a clock tower, where the hours are marked by a mechanism of a human form that holds a hammer.