The monastery of Iveron is situated in the northwest of Mt. Athos, with green hill slopes bordering it in the northeast. It is a two hour walk away from Karyes.
On her way to Cyprus, Our Lady disembarked at the monastery's present location, as the sea was very rough.
Nowadays, a spring of fresh water flows here, with only 2 meters separating it from the sea.
It was founded in the late 10th century on the ruins of the abandoned St. Clement monastery. Iveron's founders were emperor John, his son Euthymius and their cousin George. They came from Iberia (Georgia) and were the descendants of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty. The monastery was accordingly named Iveron. It is the first non-Greek Athonite monastery.
In 1357, Patriarch Callistus issued a charter proclaiming the monastery Greek property. Nowadays, the monastery occupies the 3rd place in the Mt. Athos hierarchy.
Quadrilateral in shape, the monastery is enclosed in high walls, with a high tower positioned on the sea-facing side. It is located in the sea port on the coast. Underneath the main gate, the marble floor bears a round-shaped inscription in Greek:
"I LAID DOWN THE PILLARS OF THE CHURCH SO THAT THEY NEVER MOVE.
GEORGE OF IBERIA, MONK AND FOUNDER."
Left of the monastery's entrance stands a small church guarding the wonder-working Our Lady icon known as Portaitissa (The gatekeeper).
Legend has it that this icon floated to the monastery after 70 years in the sea. Afterwards it didn't settle in the monastery until the monks built a small church by the entrance, hence the name Portaitissa. During one of the numerous invasions of the monastery, an infidel thrust his saber into Our Lady's neck. Blood poured from the wound, which has remained visible until the present day. To commemorate the event, a black pagan statue was erected on the bell tower.
The catholicon is dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos.
The temple is cross-shaped, with chapels built on both sides.
Built in the 10th century, the temple's frescoes were added subsequently. However, certain 16th century frescoes have been preserved. The founders' remains are preserved in a tomb integrated in the western wall of the temple. In 1259, the Crusaders inflicted much damage to the monastery. Many monks were slain, and the remaining were enslaved. After the slaughter, the monastery couldn't recover for a long time. In 1285, the Crusadres launched another attack, with additional damage being done in 1306 by the Catalonians. The monastery was attacked periodically until the 17th century. Besides the catholicon, the monastery includes three more smaller churches dedicated to Our Lady Portaitissa, St. John the Baptist, the Archangels and another 15 chapels. Among the monastery's treasures are pieces of the robe, reed and sponge the Judeans used to mock the Lord, fragments of the True Cross, remains of weapons used to torture Christ and the relics of the following saints: Theodore Stratelates, Michael, Panteleimon, the Martyrs Photina, Eupraxia and Parascheva, Great Martyr George's skull, St. Vasily's right hand, John Chrysostom, St. Marina's left leg, St. Cosmas and Damian, apostle Peter, St. Luke, apostle Bartholomew, St. Athanasius the Great etc. The extensive library contains many old manuscripts and books.
One of the most revered holidays is the Dormition of the Theotokos, celebrated on August 28. The monastery is ranked 3rd in the Mt. Athos hierarchy.
Iveron is inhabited by over 60 monks.