Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Only Orthodox Monastery in the World Dedicated to St. Ephraim the Syrian

The Sacred Coenobitic Monastery of Saint Ephraim the Syrian in the Heart of Pieria

At the foot of Mount Olympus, in a place known as Panagia, on the border of the foothills of Olympus and Pieria, near the village of Kontariotissa in Katerini, is a female convent dedicated to the great Father of our Church, the Venerable Ephraim the Syrian. Indeed it is the only shrine to the Saint in all of Greece.

As the website of the Monastery informs us, it was God's will that the "founder of Olympus", Saint Dionysios of Olympus, unite time over twelve centuries and spiritually unite with another "inhabitant of the desert", Saint Ephraim the Syrian.

The Monastery of Saint Ephraim the Syrian was established in 1983 as a Private Hesychasterion, and since 1985 it officially belongs to the Holy Metropolis of Kitros and Katerini.

The impressive building of the Monastery was built and is constantly being rebuilt on privately owned farmland that was purchased by the nuns.

The Monastery stands out for its natural beauty within, as well as for the existence of a small zoo which impresses visitors.

The view from the Monastery is superb. As you go up the road from the Monastery, you will come upon the magnificent 11th century Church of Panagia Kontariotissa, which celebrates its feast on August 15th.

The Monastery currently has three chapels: the Birth of the Theotokos, Saint Irene Chrysovalantou and the Holy Apostles.

There are many nuns who currently reside in the Monastery, under the guidance and leadership of Abbess Katherine, the first abbess and founder of the Monastery.

The Katholikon of the Monastery dates to 1987, and is in an Athonite style. It was established with the blessing of Saint Porphyrios of Kavsokalyva, who named the church in honor of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Life-Giving Spring.

In the Monastery is a copy of the Holy Icon of Panagia Dakryrrhooussas from Mount Athos.

Holy Relics of Saint Ephraim the Syrian were interred in the Katholikon in 2006. The Monastery celebrates its Patron on January 28th, where crowds of pilgrims come to venerate the wonderworking, grace-filled and fragrant relics of the Saint, who has been honored since the fourth century and is known today as the "Saint of Tears".

Below is a video of the Monastery, and under that is a video of Abbess Katherine who speaks about St. Porphyrios, her spiritual father:

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