Monastery of Philotheou


Philotheou monastery is located on the east side of the peninsula at an altitude of 533 m on a wooded slope. According to the sources, the monastery was founded by the Blessed Philotheos in the last quarter of the tenth century. It remained in obscurity until the fourteenth century, when it began to flourish as Serbian and Bulgarian monks settled in it over the next two centuries. When the Slav monks left at the end of the sixteenth century, the monastery drifted back into obscurity. In the eighteenth century, the Greek princes of Moldavia and Wallachia made grants to the monastery, as a result of which guest quarters, cells, and chapels were built and the monastery acquired its present form. In the mid-eighteenth century, Kosmas the Aetolian set off from Philotheou to travel around the Balkans heartening the Christians and building churches and schools.

The katholikon was built in 1746 on the ruins of an earlier building, and was frescoed over the next thirty years. The left-hand icon-stand just inside the entrance to the church contains the splendid icon of the Theotokos Glykofiloussa, which depicts the Virgin Mary holding the Christ-child in her arms and kissing him. The inner (eso) and the outer (exo) narthex are frescoed with scenes from the Apocalypse. There are ten chapels, four inside and six outside the monastery. Two chapels, dedicated to the Archangels, and to the Saint John the Baptist, lie right and left of the eso-narthex. The others are dedicated to the Saint Marina (in the bell tower), to the Forty Martyrs, to Saint John the Chrysostom and to the Saint Nicolas.
The phiale, made of white marble, for the blessing of the waters stands between the katholikon and the refectory. The refectory is built just opposite of the Katholikon in 16th century and it was frescoed in the same time.
Philotheou also boasts the thaumaturgical icon of the Theotokos Gerontissa. The library has 250 manuscript codices and two parchment rolls of the Divine Liturgy.
The sacristy contains a piece of the True Cross, the right hand of St John Chrysostom, and relics of other saints. The monastery has seventy-nine monks (1990), observes the coenobitic way of life, and is twelfth in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries.