Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Holy Mountain, Pt 5: Iveron

On Tuesday, we had quite an adventure. We all packed back into the little pick-up truck (the younger guys, including me, in the back) and headed off to visit monasteries.

The first stop was Iveron (see the map back in the first post). The top photo is of us walking up to the entrance of the monastery. The bottom photo is the entrance.

I was not allowed to take any photos inside the church, which was magnificent. First, we saw the miraculous icon Panagia Portaitissa (Panagia Who Guards the Door). This icon is at least 1000 years old, as it was discovered -- miraculously -- at the founding of the monastery around 950.

The story goes that as the first monks were establishing the monastery, one monk saw a beam of light from heaven shining down to a specific point on the sea. It was highlighting this icon, which the monk then retrieved.

Of course, the monks set the icon up in their new church, but when they awoke the next morning, the icon was moved to a spot near the door of the monastery. Confused, they put the icon back in the church. The next morning -- again -- the icon was moved. They tried a third time and sure enough the same thing happened. After that, they left the icon near the door of the monastery, from whence it got its name.

Iveron also had a side chapel of the katholikon which was filled with relics. There were glass chests along every wall of this room, and each one was packed full of relics -- St. John Chrysostom, the Apostle Philip, etc. Amazing!

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