Monastery Esfigmenou

Founded: 10th century
Founder: Unknown
Feast-day: The Ascension Day
Library: 400 manuscripts
Collection: Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons. Most important is the mosaic icon of Christ

Sailing from the harbour of Ierissos, the Monastery Esfigmenou is the first, and completely, in every sense, coastal Monastery that we meet: not only the rocky walls but also its foundations, are wetted by the waves. Thus it appears that in periods of marine raids, this was a very welcomed place for raiders. "... three times the royal abbey of Esfigmenou was hit by misfortune- the first time in the year 873, second in1047 and third, final desolation in 1534" is information reported in a manuscript of the Abbey. More ancient indications of the Abbey (years: 998,1001,1015,1024, 1030 and 1034) refer to it as the Abbey "Esfagmenou" (the slaughtered), which proves more likely the version that it owes its name to an ugly slaughter of a monk from pirates. Another remarkable version is that it resembles the name "Esfagmenou" synonym of "Estavromenou"(the crucified). The name Esfjgmenou is presented for the first time in 1045 in the 2nd Tipiko.

The Abbey honoured with their presence during 14th century two famous ecclesiastical men and teachers: saint Athanassios Patriarch of Konstantinoupolis, who came in 1310 and stayed until the end of his life and saint Grigorios Palamas, who was an abbot in the monastery (1335-36).

In 1469 the Abbey, in order to cope with the terrible position it had devolved to after a piratical raid, sold the property of Provlakos to the widow of Sultan Mourat the 2nd. In 1491 a fire caused more destructions. Later, during the period of the Ottoman domination, at least four Metropolitan priests lived in the Abbey or assisted it with appreciable donations. From them, the former Melenikou Grigorios played a leading part in the 18th century. His donation was the material re-establishment of the Abbey, while Thessalonica Daniel helped in its intellectual reformation. The patriarchs of Istanbul, Grigorios the 5th and Anthimos Koutalianos the 6th also assisted the Abbey.

In the architecture of the Abbey we see a change in styles with the buildings that were built between 1851-1858.