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Stavronikita Monastery

The monastery of Stavronikita stands atop a steep sea coast in the northwest of Mt. Athos, between the monasteries of Pantokratoros and Iveron.  According to legends, a cross maker by the name of Nicetas lived in this area.   "Stavronikita" means the cross of Nicetas.  It was recognized as a monastery as late as in 1500.

In ancient times, here stood a monastery named Stavronikita and dedicated to St. John the Baptist.  During the Crusades and Saracens' invasions, the monastery was destroyed and abandoned.  

It was reconstructed and founded by the Ecumenical Patriarch Ieremias I.  Since then, it has been dedicated to St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, owing to the finding of St. Nicholas's icon.  In 1553, fishermen pulled it out of the sea, with the Patriarch present.   Legend has it that iconoclasts tossed it into the sea and it remained undamaged.  

The monastery is one of the smallest on Mt. Athos. It is fortified with stone walls with a high tower. Cells are placed atop the walls. 
The monastery's grounds are also one of the smallest on Mt. Athos and only encompass the land surrounding the walls.

The catholicon, built in the 16th century, is dedicated to St. Nicholas. Wonderful icons originating from the same period have been preserved to the present day. They are the works of Theophanes the Cretan, whose biography is kept in the monastery's dining room. The catholicon is extremely narrow, making it the narrowest on Mt. Athos.   

Besides the wonder-working icon of St. Nicholas, the monastery's possessions include a piece of the True Cross and the relics of many saints: Basil of Caesarea, John Chrysostom, Gregory of Naziansus, St. Stephen, Forty Martyrs, Theodore Stratelates, St. Ambrose, John the Baptist etc.

The monastery contains a catholicon and 7 chapels.      

The library holds rare collections of ancient manuscripts and books. 

Today, Stavronikita occupies the 15th place in the hierarchy of Mt. Athos monasteries. It is occupied by 25 monks. Another 25 live outside the monastery's grounds.

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