Athens Monasteries Group Tour
Monasteries of Athens Dau Pendeli Monastery.
Dau Penteli – This is a remote settlement, east of the mountain, in the area where the Holy Monastery of Christ Pantokrator is located, where children with mental problems are accommodated in the institution of the same name. It borders Kallithenoupoli and Neo Wutz. It was threatened by fires in 2005 and 2018. The name Daou came from a corruption of the name “TAO”, which was an old nickname for the monastery. This nickname is given to the monogram that existed at the entrance to the monastery and seemed to be read as “TAO.
In the Byzantine period, it was the second most important monastery in the Balkans, the number of brethren of which exceeded six hundred monks. The monastery of Pantokrator or the Almighty in the town of Dau Pendeli on the picturesque coast of Attica was founded in the 9th century. With a tragic history and the relics of the martyr monks who died within its walls. The architecture of the towering temple is distinctly different from established Greek standards, resulting in a building radically different in appearance from all other Greek Orthodox churches. The adjoining tower in the same style emphasizes the peculiarity of this architecture that characterizes the monastery, first built between the 9th and 10th centuries.
In the early Byzantine era, it was the second most important monastery in the Balkans, the number of its brethren exceeded 600 monks. During the period of Ottoman rule, the Pantokrator Monastery was for a long time the only spiritual cradle in the territory dominated by the Turks. The TAO Monastery was founded and operated as a male monastery. However, in 1963, after almost three centuries of desolation, a modern women’s fraternity gradually settled here. At the same time, the reconstruction work that began in the same year brought changes and new buildings to the area. During its long history, it has survived a series of destruction and robberies, many attacks and at least three complete destructions. One of them was in 1465 by the Turks.
Since 1570, the monastery remained the spiritual stronghold of the Greek people for one hundred and ten years, after which the Lord called almost all the inhabitants of the monastery to Himself. On the day of Holy Easter in 1680, one of the workers led pirate robbers into the monastery through a secret passage. At this time, all the fathers stood at the service with lit candles and sang Easter hymns. But he also experienced years of great prosperity and glory. Now, this monastery is another beacon of the Orthodox Church, and the relics of the martyrs are a source of healing and help for those who resort to them.
The Holy Monastery of St. Ephraim (Nea Makri) is one of the oldest monasteries, today it is a convent. The monastery of St. Ephraim is located on Mount Amomon (mountain of the pure) – Pentelikon, in the Xylokeriza region, in the same place from the 10th century AD.
On Mount Amomon – Pentelikon there were many sketes scattered all over the mountain. During the years of Ottoman rule, mass barbaric murders of monks and novices of the monastery took place. One of the martyrs of that period was Saint Ephraim. In the 15th century, Ephraim came here as a young man, dreaming of monastic life since childhood. In 1425, the Turks captured the monastery and killed all the monks, except for Ephraim, who was tortured for 9 months, demanding to renounce the Orthodox faith. Failing to achieve this, the Turks crucified Ephraim on a tree upside down, pierced his stomach several times with a red-hot stake, then tortured him for a long time until the monk died. The tree on which the saint was crucified has been preserved to this day in the monastery.
The holy relics of St. Ephraim were miraculously found several decades ago. In 1945, the blessed nun Makaria (who died in 1999) went to the ruins of the ancient monastery of the Annunciation on Mount Amonon, in the northeastern foothills of Pentelikos. A voice inside her told her, “Dig and you’ll find what you want.” So, on January 3, 1950, having a worker in the monastery for other work, she ordered him to dig out the place where, as she believed, the remains were. At a depth of 1.70 m, the first find was found, the skull and the whole place acquired a fragrance. The saint appeared to her in a dream and thanked her, giving his name, Ephraim. Since then, the monastery of St. Ephraim has become one of the largest pilgrimage centers in Attica and throughout Greece.
The monastery celebrates on January 3 the day of finding the relics of St. Ephraim, on March 25 the Annunciation, and on May 5 the day of the last martyrdom of the saint.