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List of products by brand Lavra

Great Lavra Monastery



The Monastery of Great Lavra - the first monastery in the hierarchy of Mt. Athos, is located on a small plateau in the far south of Athos, about an hour walk away from the sea, at an elevation of 160 meters.   In ancient times, the city of Akrothooi, Akrathos or Athos stood here.  Prior to Lavra's founding, this location was known as Melana.  Saint Athanasius the Athonite founded the monastery in the 10th century. Byzantine emperors Nicephoros Phocas and John I Tzimiskes greatly contributed to the monastery's growth. 

Great Lavra may be considered the mother of Mt. Athos monasteries in terms of its organization and architectural solutions. It introduced the concept of large monastic brotherhoods.
The unique position of Mt. Athos monastic communities within Orthodoxy and Christianity can be greatly attributed to Great Lavra.  This is the reason why Lavra's 1000th birthday celebration in 1963 was accepted as the jubilee of the entire Mt. Athos.

The area belonging to Lavra is vast and encompasses the vast southern areas of Mt. Athos and the following sketes: the Romanian, Kafsokalyvian and Saint Anne skete.  Saint Anne skete preserves the leg of St. Anne, Our Lady's mother.  It is occupied by around 60 monks.  Saint Anne and Great Lavra are separated by the Mt. Athos desert, which is inhabited by approximately 100 monks.  Great Lavra overlooks the islands of Lemnos, Thassos, Samothraki, Imbros and the bay. The coasts of the Dardanelles strait are discernible during clear weather.  St. Athanasius used to climb the steep slopes to the hill top so that he could enjoy solitary prayer. The main Lavra road heads west to the St. Anne skete and the monasteries lying in the west.  Great Lavra was always the first among Mt. Athos monasteries.  It has allured considerable numbers of monks and their population reached 700 in the 11th century.   During the Crusades, Lavra suffered much damage from the crusaders, in particular from the terrifying Catalonian gangs.  Its position worsened with the demise of the Byzantine empire. The descent prolonged into the 16th century.  In the 17th century, Lavra returned its former size and its reconstruction was completed during the late 18th century.   Lavra is encircled with high stone walls. Tzimiskes's tower stands proudly above the main gate.   A small church devoted to St. Cosmas and Damian is located in the vicinity of Lavra.   St. Athanasius built the church on Our Lady's orders, so as not to relent to the devil's trickery, who was trying to prevent Lavra's construction.   Lavra's catholicon, dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, is the oldest catholicon on Mt. Athos.  It was built in 963 by St. Athanasius.  The frescoes, painted by Theophanes the Cretan,
originate from the 16th century. The catholicon contains chapels dedicated to St. Nicholas and the Forty Martyrs.   The marble iconostasis was built in 1887, although the icons ornamenting it are far older.  St. Athanasius's tomb is located here. St. Athanasius's day is celebrated on July 18th, which is a highly revered holiday in Great Lavra.  The many priceless treasures and gifts of Byzantine emperors include St. Athanasius's cross and crosier, two wonder-working icons "Ikonomisa", intended to honor St. Athanasius's encounter with Our Lady beside the wonder-working spring and Koukouzelissa, located in a chapel of the Our Lady temple, embellished pieces of the True Cross, John Chrysostome's right hand, St. Eustathius's and St. Michael's skulls, relics of St. Basil the Great, apostle Andrew, St. Ephrem the Syrian etc. 
 The dininig room is painted in 16th century frescoes.  A large dome-shaped baptistery and two thousand-year-old cupressus stand in the courtyard. 

Great Lavra occupies the 1st place in Mt. Athos hierarchy, as it always has.   Around 80 monks inhabit the monastery.  

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