Saint Paul’s Cloister

The Monastery of St. Paul is 14th in the hierarchy of the monasteries of Mount Athos. The Monastery of St. Paul is the southernmost Monastery on the west coast of the peninsula of Athos. It is located a little northeast of the southwestern tip.

It is mentioned for the first time in texts in 972. It is mentioned again in 1269. In the beginning of the 14th century, it was destroyed and degraded into a cell, but in 1365 it was once again proclaimed a monastery. It  was benefited by many emperors of Byzantium, rulers of the Pardubins and Russian tsars. In 1820, it was extended to buildings and took its present form but experienced great turmoil by the Turks during the 1821 revolution. At the beginning of the 20th century, two huge destructions took place, one from fire and  second from floods.

The building complex has a strong figurative shape, surrounded by a wall and has a defensive tower. The katholikon of the monastery was built in 1839-1844 and is dedicated to the Hypapante of Christ. It is not illustrated. In the katholikon, the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary Myrovlitissa, pieces of Holy Wood and the Gifts of the Magi to the newborn Christ are kept. There are two chapels dedicated to the Apostoles Paul and St. George. Besides the katholikon within the monastery, there are 10 chapels.

The Trapeza is connected with a covered corridor with the katholikon. It is built in 1820 and features cast pillars, marble floors and marble tables. The tower of the monastery is built in 1522. The library houses 495 manuscripts and 12,500 printed books.

There are two Sketes in the Monastery of St. Paul: the Cloister of the Virgin Mary or New Skete and the Cloister of St. Demetrios or Lakkosketi, three cells in Karyes: the Saint Andrew’s cell, the current delegation of the monastery, the cell of Saint Theodoros, of the delegation and the cell of  Hypapante’s, two Kathismata: The Virgin Mary’s, situated to the northwest of the monastery at a distance of approximately 20 ‘, and the St. Baptist’s Cathedral, whose present state is underground and is in the same direction as the nearest  of the monastery and located between the monastery and the New Cloister. These retreats are of the Agia Triada, Daniel, Damascus, Joseph, Zarkadis, and Hairi Isichastirio. In all of these live 60 monks.

In the Monastery lives from 80 to 90 people. In this monastery, the chapel of St. George in the north wing is worth seeing, with the wall paintings of the Cretan School of 1554, the part of the Magician’s gifts kept in the katholikon, as well as the library of the Monastery with its manuscript codes 9th – 10th centuries.