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Hilandar

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Christian crossHilandar (Хиландар)
Hilan2
Monastery Information
Jurisdiction   Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Established   1198
Disestablished   still active
Location   Mt Athos, Greece
Dedicated to  
Celebration  
Founder   Saint Sava


Hilandar Monastery (Greek: Μονή Χελανδαρίου, Serbian: Манастир Хиландар, Hilandar) on Mount Athos in Greece. It was founded in 1198 by the Serbian Saint Sava and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja (who later became a monk there, taking the monastic name of "Simeon") of Raška. The Mother of God through her Icon of Three Hands (Trojeručica), is considered as the abbess.[1]

History

The name "Hilandar" is derived from helandion, a type of Byzantine transport ship, whose skipper was called a "helandaris". The ancient cell of Helandaris was donated by emperor Alexios III Angelos (1195-1203) "to the Serbs as eternal gift..." in order to transform it into a "Serbian" monastery.

Hilandar, ca. 1998

Hilandar Monastery

Two medieval Bulgarian royal charters, the Virgino Charter and the Oryahov Charter, have been found in Hilandar's library. After the fall of Serbia and Bulgaria under Ottoman rule, the influx of Serbian monks decreased at the expense of Bulgarians, particularly from Macedonia. From the 17th to the 19th century, Hilandar was predominantly Bulgarian-populated: in his account of 1745, the Russian pilgrim Vasily Barsky writes that the monks of Hilandar were all Bulgarians.[2] Ilarion Makariopolski, Sophronius of Vratsa and Matey Preobrazhenski have all lived there, and it was in this monastery that Saint Paisius of Hilendar began his revolutionary Slavonic-Bulgarian History. The monastery was dominated by Bulgarians until 1902.[3]

Moni- Helandariou-2

A view of the internal yard of Hilandar Monastery. The photo is taken from the window of my room in the guesthouse.

However, in 1913, Serbian presence in the Holy Mountain was quite big and the Protos was the Serbian representative of Hilandar[4].


In the 1970s, the Greek government offered power grid installation to all of the monasteries on Mount Athos. The Holy Council of Mount Athos refused, and since then every monastery generates its own power, which is gained mostly from renewable energy sources. During the 1980s, electrification of the monastery of Hilandar took place, generating power mostly for lights and heating.

On March 4, 2004, there was a devastating fire at the Hilandar monastery, with approximately 50% of the walled complex destroyed in the blaze. The blaze damaged the northern half of the walled complex, including the bakery. The library and the monastery's many historic icons were saved or otherwise untouched by the fire.

Sacred objects

VergineTricherusa

Icon of the Theotokos, "The Three-handed" (Trojeručica).

Among the numerous relics and other holy objects treasured at the monastery is the Wonderworking Icon of the Theotokos "Of the Akathist", the feast day of which is celebrated on January 12. Since Mount Athos uses the traditional Julian Calendar, the day they name as January 12 currently falls on January 25 of the modern Gregorian Calendar.

Moni-Helandariou-3

A sculpture on a rock presenting Saint Symeon, the founder of Hilandar Monastery.

The monastery also possesses the Wonderworking Icon of the Theotokos "Of the Three Hands" (Greek: Tricherusa, Serbian: Тројеручицa), traditionally associated with a miraculous healing of St. John Damascene. Around the year 717, St. John became a monk at Mar Sabbas monastery outside of Jerusalem and gave the icon to the monastic community there. Later the icon was offered to St. Sava of Serbia, who gave it to the Hilandar. A copy of the icon was sent to Russia in 1661, from which time it has been highly venerated in the Russian Orthodox Church. This icon has two feast days: June 28 (July 11) and July 12 (July 25).

The library holds 181 Greek and 809 Slavic manuscripts, about 20 000 printed books (3 000 in Greek language).

The monastery contains about 44 working monks.

See also

References

  1. http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/tocnode?id=g9780631232032_chunk_g978063123203212_ss1-13
  2. "Chilandari". Mount Athos. http://www.mountathos.gr/active.aspx?mode=en{cf4d1b6f-9cd3-48a9-83c9-5097706a1a15}View. Retrieved 2008-10-09. "In the 17th century the number of monks coming from Serbia dwindled, and the 18th was a period of decline, following a disastrous fire in 1722. At that time the Monastery was effectively manned by Bulgarian monks." 
  3. "Хилендарски манастир" (in Bulgarian). Православието. http://www.pravoslavieto.com/manastiri/aton/hilendar/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 
  4. Panagiotis Christou, "To Agion Oros", Patriarchal Institute of Patristic Studies, Epopteia ed., Athens, 1987 pp 313-314

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