The Location of the Monastery
Our Monastery, dedicated to Pantocrator, is located on the slope of a hill, between the villages Liti and Melissohori, some kilometers away from Thessaloniki, the Saints' city. It is one - perhaps the least important - among many "institutes of souls" in our country.
The Monastery started on the day of the Great St. Nicolas, December 6th, in 1985 when God blessed and the foundation stone was laid, so it was built a place dedicated to Him. Since then everything has been going on in a quiet and humble way, undoubtedly an important, brilliant work because our Lord is" miraculous in His work and His plan can be carried out by His much weaker, as He tells us "My power is made perfect in weakness" In 1990 when the main building, (where the few members of our brotherhood live), as well as the Catholicon of the Monastery were finished, the license was sent by the Holy Synod and the Greek Ministry. Since then the Monastery has been for Monks an ivory tower (e.g. an independent and self-governed monastery)
People Love the Monastery
The people who believe in God have admired and worshipped the Monastery from the very beginning and have approached it "like the deer which runs towards the springs", looking for some hours full of peace, and even more getting spiritual benefits and guidance. At the same moment God's Grace brings us His faithful people, who help us in different ways to complete the necessary works in the Monastery. We have to confess that whatever has been done in the Monastery is mainly God's help and then blessed people's one.
A History Full Of Miracles
Up to 1992 two quite wide chapels were built: St. Angels and St. new martyrs Rafael, Nicolaos and Erene. Life during the next years went on without any important changes, while more and more people (pilgrims) were coming and visiting the Monastery but it seemed too small for so many people. That's why we were obliged to make the decision to build a larger Archontariki. On our decision the blessing of God is obvious, because we can clearly see it; He takes care of the least detail and sends the appropriate people at the appropriate time. It isn't arrogant if we say the donations were coming one after the other. The help of all those people wasn't the only miracle, but how quickly the work was completed was another one; the foundation of the Archontariki was in 2003 and at Easter 2004 the new and wider Archontariki was ready to welcome the visitors (pilgrims).
Non-stop To The Miracles
Is it possible to stop God's interference? Only those with little faith can have doubts that all this happened. Our Lord is continuing His inexplicable work with accuracy and unusual rapidness. Although the new building hadn't been completed yet, our benefactors offered to rebuild the Katholikon (the main church). The first reaction to this offer was reserved because of the big problem of the space. It is necessary to mention that our monastery exists because of the peoples' donations. There are no salaries or any other income. That's why we couldn't start so costly works. Again God's will and plan were completely different from people's schedule. On the one hand the two families' help, the Samaras and the Trikkaliotis, our great benefactors, and on the other hand a lot of other people's donations made it possible to rebuild the Katholikon in unbelievable time. The work started in October 2004 and the first service was held on Maundy Thursday in 2006,"Lord, you are great and your work is miraculous" it is what we can exclaim. We can stop here, we have already told a lot but this doesn't mean that the miraculous route ends here. Our God shows His help daily in everybody's life. Of course only those who believe can see God's interference.
Saint's Days Celebration, Holidays in the Monastery
The Monastery is dedicated to Pantocrator, our Lord. The special honour on His Holy Memory is on the day of Assumption, forty days after Easter. Our Holy Fathers teach us that this event is the most important in the whole divine plan because at that moment the decadent, bad human nature goes up to Heaven and it is offered clear and new to God-Father. As you know, Monks love Virgin Mary, our sweetest Mother who protects the world, is so big that we celebrate and honour Her on October 28th, the second holiday, the memory on the Holy Protection (auspices) of Virgin Mary. On both holidays, in the eve, there is a service, Vespers, and on the main day there is the Divine Liturgy, which a lot of priests take part in, there is litany and we offer lunch to the pilgrims. We also celebrate the following holidays on the chapels we have already mentioned 1. St Angels, on November 8th, night service 2. St. Rafael, Nicolas and Irene, on the third day after Easter, but 3. Another chapel - in the old building - dedicated to the Holy Trinity on Monday of the Holy Spirit. We also celebrate, with night services, the memory of the patron saints of our Monastery a. Venerable Arsenios from Paros on January 31st and b. Great St. Eustathios,Auxentios, Mardarios, Eugenios and Orestis on December 13th.
They are not, of course, wealthy and valuable things, but treasures of worship, precious, spiritual values. We have the honour and blessing to keep them in our Monastery as the holy store of our faith. The most important one is the miraculous Icon (the one honored more) Virgin's Icon "The Lady of Angels". In Her honour a special entreaty has been written. Special honor is also given to other two icons brought from Jerusalem, the Holy Trinity and Virgin Pantanassa. It is difficult to refer to all treasures but we have to mention the unique blessing of our Monastery: some pieces from the Holy Cross, Our Lord's Cross, full of life. We also have a lot of pieces from the holy relics of our saints, such as:
- St. John the Baptist
- Venerable Arsenios from Paros
- St. five Martyrs
- St. Philip, one of the disciples
- St. Stefanos the first Martyr
- St. Lazarus, Christ's friend
- Sts. Rafael, Nicolaos and Erene
- St. Haralambos
- St. Constantinos and Elene
- St. George the winner
- St. Panteleymon
- St. Paraskevi
- St. John Chrysostomos
- St. Gregorios Theologos
Life in the Monastery
The most important thing in Monk's life is the daily programme (schedule, timetable). It is based on the prayer, but on the other hand on daily chores, studies and resting. Our Monastery follows the Typicon of Agion Oros with some necessary changes. More specifically, we wake up at 3:00 a.m. doing the kanona (personal pray) in each monk's cell. The common service starts at 4:00 a.m. (mesonuctiko, Matin, Hours, Divine Liturgy) until 8:00 a.m. Then we have some drink-breakfast (except on fasting) and some rest and we finish it reciting the Hail in Virgin. After that each monk does his work: cooking, feeding the animals, gardening, carpentering, cleaning, painting etc. These jobs do not seem to have something spiritual, but in the monastery all this work has some special meaning. The monks don't work to earn their living but in this way they offer their work to the service of their Lord, who is seen on the face of their brothers. At 1:30 p.m. they have paraklese in front of the icon, Virgin of Angels and at 2:oo p.m. we have lunch. The Vespers is at 5:00 p.m. in summer, and at 4:30 in winter. After the Vespers at 6:00 p.m. the monks are free to consecrate themselves to any work or study or prayer. At about 9:00 p.m. the monks get together to have a light supper (except on fasting) before the last service, the Compline. At the end of this service the monks forgive each other for everything they have done during the day "and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us" Very often there is a Virgil from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. This typikon starts from the beginning of the monastic life wherein brilliancy and sanctimoniousness are combined. The monks sacrifice the hours of rest to their love for God. We usually have night services on the holidays dedicated to Our Lord and Our Virgin, as well as in the honour of some great saints.
People consider Monasteries as a spiritual oasis in the world of material and selfishness. Most people go to the monasteries asking for support and looking for peace. Here, they learn and realize that they can find both only amongst Christ. That is why the monasteries are open and welcome everybody. Our monastery is open daily except on Wednesdays and Fridays. After the vespers the visitors can go to Archontariki to take a sweet and listen to something valuable for their soul. Besides, every visitor is allowed to confess one's sins.