Orthodox World

Great Lavra Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece

Great Lavra Monastery

General Details

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople
Feast Day:
July 5 - St. Athanasius the Athonite

Contact Details

Great Lavra Monastery, Mount Athos, Chalkidiki, 63086 Greece
+30 23770-23754
+30 23770-23013

Historical Details

Build - Founding Year:

The Monastery of Megisti Lavra (or Great Lavra) is built on the south-eastern end of the Athos Peninsula and is the earliest and biggest foundation on Mount Athos. It was founded by the monk Athanasios the Athonite during the years of the Emperors Romanos the Second and Nikephoros Phocas. He is considered to be the founder of Athonite monasticism and the Holy Monastery of Great Lavra is the mother monastery of Mount Athos.

The monastery occupies the first rank in the hierarchical order of the twenty Athonite monasteries. It is inhabited by 317 monks (1990), the most in comparison to the other monasteries, and is coenobitic (communal).

It features the shape of a small medieval town, is surrounded by a strong fortress with 15 towers. Inside and outside these towers there are 37 chapels, many independent kellia, three sketae (Saint John the Baptist, Saint Anne and Kavsokalyvia) and regions of kalyve.

The katholikon has served as a model for all the katholika of the Athonite monasteries. It was built in 963 by Athanasios. It is a four-columned church with a dome. Restoration works performed at later times gave the church a cross-like shape. First it was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but in the 15th century it was dedicated to Saint Athanasios Athonite. The katholikon is frescoed in the 16th century, by Theophanes the Cretan, a famous representative of the Cretan painting school. Left and right of the eso-narthex are two chapels dedicated to Saint Nicholas and to the Forty Martyrs. The tomb of Saint Athanasios is lying in the chapel of Forty Martyrs.

The most important of all the other chapels are these of Saint George, Saint Athanasios and of Virgin Koukouzelissa. The Phiale, the basin for the blessing of the waters stands outside the main entrance of the Katholikon. It is the oldest and the biggest in Athos. Just opposite the entrance of the Katholikon is the refectory, frescoed by Cretan painters.

The library contains 2,046 manuscripts, 165 codices and 30,000 printed books. The treasury is very rich. It houses the crown and sakkos (liturgical vestment) of Nikephoros Phocas, ecclesiastical plates, sacerdotal vestments, the relics of many saints, etc.

For Priests or Parish Council Officers Services for the Monastery

If you are a Priest or Parish Council Officer of this Monastery you may use the following services:

Update Monastery Details

Take a moment to update the listing details of Great Lavra Monastery, Mount Athos, Chalkidiki, add photos as well as include information on your services and historical data so that the Monastery listing is complete; your parishioners can better communicate with you and know more about the Monastery!

Update Monastery Details

Lighten the Monastery

Create and publish a list of items that you need for your Monastery. As a Monastery Representative, you are aware of religious items that the Great Lavra Monastery, Mount Athos, Chalkidiki truly needs. The Lighten a Church service enables you to create a list with what you need for the Monastery; once there is a prospective donor who wishes to help, he or she can purchase an item or more from your Need list on Monastery's behalf.

Support for Monastery Endeavours

Create Holy Causes for funding of your Monastery's Christian projects and endeavours. Support a Holy Cause is a new service empowering your parishioners and followers to connect virtually with Great Lavra Monastery, Mount Athos, Chalkidiki and support specific Christian endeavours such as Philoptochos and Monastery Renovation in an easy and secure way. As a Monastery Representative, you can create one or more Holy Causes and start getting funding for your Monastery projects.