A Brief Review of the Holy Monastery Pantokrator Tao

The holy and venerable Monastery Pantokrator Tao was founded in the 9th century as a monastery for men. During its long history, it has experienced both looting and destruction, but periods of efflorescence as well.  During the early Byzantine era, in particular, it emerged as the second monastery in the Balkans, having a brotherhood in excess of 600 monks.

The most dramatic era in the history of the Monastery, however, was that between 1570 and 1680.  In those difficult years, the Holy Monastery of Pantokrator was a spiritual cradle and source of national inspiration and social awakening not only for the much-suffering Greeks of Attica, but for the wider Greek world then suffering under the Turkish yoke.

According to tradition, the Monastery at that time followed the typicon of the renowned Monastery of Studion in its regulation of the monks' devotional and liturgical life. Specifically, in the Katholikon (Central church) of the Monastery, divine services were celebrated by the fathers around the clock.  Worth noting in this connection is that today the Monastery of Pantokrator is perhaps the only Orthodox monastery that still remains an "Unsleeping Monastery" (Akoimiti Moni); its Katholikon is also the only hexagonal Byzantine church which has survived in Greece.

From about 1570, the fathers of the Monastery were distinguished by their advanced spiritual stature. On the day of the Holy Resurrection in 1680, those fathers who were living and struggling in the Monastery – one hundred seventy-nine in number -- sealed with their own blood their devotion to and love for the Bridegroom of their souls, our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, receiving the wreath of Martyrdom immediately after Divine Liturgy.

Three centuries after the torturous end of the 179 Holy martyric Fathers of this Monastery, the grace of our almighty Lord Jesus Christ blessed the miraculous revelation of their Holy Relics. The uncovering of these Relics was a stunning and deeply moving testimony of God's grace to the Sisterhood of the Monastery (which had since become a convent for women) as well as to myriads of pilgrims. The news of their uncovering spread through the entire Orthodox world, which developed a deep feeling of reverence and piety towards the Martyrs of Pantokrator. At every opportunity, pilgrims from around the world –both monastics and laypeople— now come to the Monastery to venerate the Holy Relics with all due respect and honour.

Ever since, these 179 Holy and Victorious Neo-martyrs of our Church have comprised a beacon of our Orthodox faith through their Holy Relics made available to tens of thousands of pilgrims, both known and unknown, providing solutions to various problems the pilgrims might have through their prayers to and miracles from our Almighty God.  Hundreds of miracles have been reported to our Monastery about many kinds of illnesses that have been healed, accompanied by heartfelt acknowledgements to our Saints and glorifications of our Lord, for it is He Who blesses them with the gift of miracles, thus making them direct and unremunerated helpers and protectors of the Christian faithful.

We celebrate the memory of the 179 martyred Holy Fathers who were slaughtered within the Holy Monastery of Pantokrator on Tuesday of Bright Week.

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