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History== Esphigmenou [[ monastery]] has existed since the tenth century, although Athonite tradition attributes its founding to Empress [[Pulcheria the Empress|Pulcheria]], the sister of Emperor Theodosius II, in the fifth century. The origin of the name for the monastery is uncertain. The name of the monastery came from a founding monk who wore a tight belt or from the name of the site upon which the monastery was built. The monastery is built near the sea as at the time it was built the sea was safe from foreign attackers. Manuscripts, however, record serious raids in 1047 and 1534. The 1534 raid was the most severe and was preceded by a fire in 1491.
In between the raids and fire Esphigmenou was favored by the emperors in Constantinople as imperial chrysobulls record the acquisition of property for Esphigmenou in Prolakas, Sloutarass, Krosouvo, Vrasta, Thessaloniki, and Constantinople. Also, Esphigmenou is noted as being the home, in 1310, of St. Athanasius who was Patriarch of Constantinople and of Gregory Palamas, in 1335, who was Archbishop of Thessalonki.
While Esphigmenou is ranked eighteenth among the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos, it withdrew its representative from the Holy Community in 1974 and does not take part in the assemblies of the Community. The withdrawal by the monks was precipitated by a break with the Ecumenical Patriarch for violations of the doctrines of the Church in regards to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's relations with non-Orthodox, particularly its involvement in the Ecumenical Movement. Esphigmenou has also refused funding from the European Union. The abbot, Methodius, stated that the monks of Esphigmenou Monastery had refused fifteen million euros that was offered by the European Union to the monastery, noting that offers of such large amounts of money surely are made in the expectation of receiving something in exchange.
December 20]], 2006, a group of Esphigmenou monks clashed violently with another group of monks outside the monastery, when the outside monks attempted to gain access to the monastery's representative offices in Karyes. The monks have refused an eviction order by Ecumenical Patriarch [[Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople|Bartholomew I]] and in October 2006, a Thessaloniki court issued two-year suspended sentences against nine monks and former monastery members for illegally occupying Esphigmenou's offices.[http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/12/20/greece.monks.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories][http://www.aegean.gr/agios-therapontas//magazine/apostoli/issue/61/of Esphigmenou.html]
Treasury==The monastery library contains 372 manuscripts and over 8,000 printed books. Among the treasures held by the monastery, Esphigmenou's most treasured possession is the [[icon]] of Our Lady Eleousa. In addition to relics of [[ saints]], the monastery possesses the so-called cross of Pulcheria and a large part of the tent used by Napoleon. The tent remnant is used as the curtain for the [[sanctuary]] door in the katholikon on the feast day of the Holy Ascension.
*[http://esphigmenou.com/ Esphigmenou Site]
*[[Wikipedia: Esphigmenou Monastery]]
Category: Monasteries]][[ Category: Athonite Monasteries]] [[Category:Greek Monasteries]]
[[el:Ιερά Μονή Εσφιγμένου]]
[[en:Esphigmenou Monastery (Athos)]]