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Hilandar Monastery is a Serbian Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos
Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the...

 in Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

. It was founded in 1198 by the first Serbian Archbishop Saint Sava
Saint Sava
Saint Sava was a Serbian Prince and Orthodox monk, the first Archbishop of the autocephalous Serbian Church, the founder of Serbian law and literature, and a diplomat. Sava was born Rastko Nemanjić , the youngest son of Serbian Grand Župan Stefan Nemanja , and ruled the appanage of Hum briefly in...

 and his father, Grand Prince Stefan Nemanja
Stefan Nemanja
Stefan Nemanja was the Grand Prince of the Grand Principality of Serbia from 1166 to 1196, a heir of the Vukanović dynasty that marked the beginning of a greater Serbian realm .He is remembered for his contributions to Serbian culture and...

 (who later became a monk
A monk is a person who practices religious asceticism, living either alone or with any number of monks, while always maintaining some degree of physical separation from those not sharing the same purpose...

 there, taking the monastic name of "Simeon") of the medieval Serbian principality of Raška
Raška (state)
Principality of Serbia or Serbian Principality was an early medieval state of the Serbs ruled by the Vlastimirović dynasty, that existed from ca 768 to 969 in Southeastern Europe. It was established through an unification of several provincial chiefs under the supreme rule of a certain Višeslav,...

 (Rascia). The Mother of God through her Icon of Three Hands (Trojeručica
Bogorodica Trojeručica or simply Trojeručica is a famous wonderworking icon in the Serb Orthodox monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos, Greece...

), is considered the abbess.


The name "Hilandar" is derived from chelandion
Chelandion was a Byzantine galley warship, a variant of the dromōn that also functioned as a cargo transport.Its name derives from the Greek word kelēs, "courser", and first appeared during the early 8th century...

, a type of Byzantine transport ship, whose skipper was called a "helandaris". The ancient cell of Helandaris was donated by Emperor Alexios III Angelos
Alexios III Angelos
Alexios III Angelos was Byzantine Emperor from 1195 to 1203.- Early life:Alexios III Angelos was the second son of Andronikos Angelos and Euphrosyne Kastamonitissa. Andronicus was himself a son of Theodora Komnene, the youngest daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos and Irene Doukaina. Thus...

 (1195-1203) "to the Serbs as an eternal gift..." and Stefan Nemanja establishes and endows the monastery in 1198 (before 13th february 1199).
In 1426 Gjon Kastrioti
Gjon Kastrioti
Gjon Kastrioti , member of Kastrioti family, son of Pal Kastrioti, was an Albanian lord and the father of Scanderbeg. He was called also Hamza Kastrioti.- Name :...

 from Albania
Albania (toponym)
The toponym Albania may indicate several different geographical regions: a country in the Balkans; an ancient land in the Caucasus; as well as Scotland, Albania being a Latinization of a Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba...

 and his three sons (one of them was Skanderbeg
George Kastrioti Skanderbeg or Gjergj Kastrioti Skënderbeu , widely known as Skanderbeg , was a 15th-century Albanian lord. He was appointed as the governor of the Sanjak of Dibra by the Ottomans in 1440...

) donated the right to the proceeds from taxes collected from the two villages (Rostuša
Rostuša is a village in Republic of Macedonia. It is a seat of the Mavrovo and Rostuša municipality.In 1426 Gjon Kastrioti from Albania and his three sons donated the right to the proceeds from taxes collected from the villages Rostuša and Trebište and from the church of Saint Mary, which was in...

 and Trebište
Trebište, Trebishte, or Trebišta is a village in the Republic of Macedonia in Mavrovo and Rostuša Municipality, situated in the Dolna Reka district, on the eastern slopes of Dešat, above the gorge of Radika.-History: In 1426 Gjon Kastrioti from Albania and his three sons donated...

 in Macedonia) and from the church of Saint Mary, which was in one of them, to the Hilandar where his son Reposh retired and died in 25 July 1431: in his honor the Saint George
Saint George
Saint George was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic , Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox...

 tower of Hilandar was known as the Albanian tower .

Two medieval Bulgarian royal charters
Medieval Bulgarian royal charters
The medieval Bulgarian royal charters are some of the few secular documents of the medieval Bulgarian Empire . The eight preserved charters all date to the 13th and 14th century, the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire, and were issued by five tsars roughly between 1230 and 1380...

, the Virgino Charter and the Oryahov Charter, have been found in Hilandar's library. After the fall of Serbia and Bulgaria under Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 rule, the influx of Serbian monks decreased at the expense of Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

, particularly from Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

. From the 17th to the 19th century, Hilandar was predominantly Bulgarian-populated: in his account of 1745, the Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n pilgrim Vasily Barsky writes that the monks of Hilandar were all Bulgarians. Ilarion Makariopolski
Ilarion Makariopolski
Ilarion Makariopolski , born Stoyan Stoyanov Mihaylovski was a 19th-century Bulgarian cleric and one of the leaders of the struggle for an autonomous Bulgarian church....

, Sophronius of Vratsa
Sophronius of Vratsa
Saint Sophronius of Vratsa , born Stoyko Vladislavov , was a Bulgarian cleric and one of the leading figures of the early Bulgarian National Revival....

 and Matey Preobrazhenski
Matey Preobrazhenski
Father Matey Preobrazhenski was the clerical name of Mono Petrov Seizmonov , nicknamed Mitkaloto , Ochmatey or Ochkata, a Bulgarian Orthodox priest, revolutionary, enlightener and a close friend of Vasil Levski.Father Matey was born in the village of Novo Selo near Veliko Tarnovo in 1828; his two...

 have all lived there, and it was in this monastery that Saint Paisius of Hilendar
Paisius of Hilendar
Saint Paisius of Hilendar or Paisiy Hilendarski was a Bulgarian clergyman and a key Bulgarian National Revival figure. He is most famous for being the author of Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya, the second modern Bulgarian history after the work of Petar Bogdan Bakshev from 1667, “History of Bulgaria”...

 began his revolutionary Slavonic-Bulgarian History
Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya
Istoriya Slavyanobolgarskaya is a book by Bulgarian scholar and clergyman Saint Paisius of Hilendar...

. The monastery was dominated by Bulgarians until 1902.
However, in 1913, Serbian presence in the Holy Mountain was quite big and the Protos
Protos may refer to:* Protos , a monastic office at the eastern orthodox monastic state of Mount Athos* Protos , a former racing car constructor* PROTOS , a German train...

 was the Serbian representative of Hilandar.

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.

Great Fire

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.

Vast reconstruction efforts are underway, to return Hilandar to its former glory.

Sacred objects

Among the numerous relic
In religion, a relic is a part of the body of a saint or a venerated person, or else another type of ancient religious object, carefully preserved for purposes of veneration or as a tangible memorial...

s and other holy objects treasured at the monastery is the Wonderworking Icon
An icon is a religious work of art, most commonly a painting, from Eastern Christianity and in certain Eastern Catholic churches...

 of the Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 "Of the Akathist
The Akathist Hymn is a hymn of Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic tradition dedicated to a saint, holy event, or one of the persons of the Holy Trinity...

", the feast day of which is celebrated on January 12. Since Mount Athos uses the traditional Julian Calendar
Julian calendar
The Julian calendar began in 45 BC as a reform of the Roman calendar by Julius Caesar. It was chosen after consultation with the astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria and was probably designed to approximate the tropical year .The Julian calendar has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months...

, the day they name as January 12 currently falls on January 25 of the modern Gregorian Calendar
Gregorian calendar
The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

The monastery also possesses the Wonderworking Icon of the Theotokos "Of the Three Hands"
Bogorodica Trojeručica or simply Trojeručica is a famous wonderworking icon in the Serb Orthodox monastery of Hilandar on Mount Athos, Greece...

 (Greek: Tricherusa, Serbian: Тројеручицa), traditionally associated with a miraculous
A miracle often denotes an event attributed to divine intervention. Alternatively, it may be an event attributed to a miracle worker, saint, or religious leader. A miracle is sometimes thought of as a perceptible interruption of the laws of nature. Others suggest that a god may work with the laws...

 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
Saint Sava
Saint Sava was a Serbian Prince and Orthodox monk, the first Archbishop of the autocephalous Serbian Church, the founder of Serbian law and literature, and a diplomat. Sava was born Rastko Nemanjić , the youngest son of Serbian Grand Župan Stefan Nemanja , and ruled the appanage of Hum briefly in...

, 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
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

. 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 45 working monks.

External links