Grigoriou Monastery

Μετάφραση Greek Version

Grigoriou Monastery

The Monastery Grigoriou is an Orthodox Christian monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece. The church is dedicated to Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicholas), thus the monastery celebrates on the 6th of December. According to a handwritten codex, it was founded by a Serbian monk, Saint Grigorios Sinaitis in 1345. It is built on a rock 30 meters high, on the southeastern side of the peninsula, an hour away from the neighboring Monasteries of Simonopetras and Dionysiou.

Little is known about the founder himself, other than he came to Mount Athos to pursue asceticism. Before the construction of the monastery, he dwelled in a cave, which still exists, about 20 minutes up from the Monastery.

The monastery was burnt down twice, first in 1496 and later in 1761. It recovered from the destruction of 1500 and was re-established. The big fire of 1761 caused great damage, with almost all the relics and documents to have been destroyed. After the second fire, reconstruction began almost immediately. Additional damage was suffered during the Greek revolution against the Turks in 1821. Restoration work has been accomplished over the years, supported by various benefactors including the princess of Moldavia, Phanariotes and archbishops of Hungro-Wallachia.

The katholikon which is dedicated to St. Nicholas, was built in 1768. Its walls were decorated with frescoes, painted in 1779 by the monks Gabriel and Gregory from Kastoria. The frescoes present scenes from the Old Testement. A narthex was added to the katholikon in 1846. Between the Katholikon and the narthex there is the chapel of Saint Grigorios, dating from 1851. The monastery owns 10 chapels of the 18th and 19th century, of which the more distinguished are St. Gregory's and St. Anastasia of Rome. It also features 4 cells in Κaryes.

Its library holds 297 manuscripts, many other documents, and some 6,000 printed books, including the unique manuscript of Shepherd of Hermas. This manuscript is an illuminated thirteenth-century Gospel Book. The monastery’s treasury is very rich in relics from various eras. Among the Monastery's treasures are a small part of the True Cross, relics of saints, sacred vessels and vestments.


Each day, 100 Orthodox and 10 non-Orthodox male pilgrims are admitted for a three-night stay in one of the peninsula's 20 monasteries. Clergy and those who have a special invitation from the monasteries are excluded. Because of the small number of non-orthodox permits issued, if you are planning to visit Mount Athos you should run the necessary procedures the earliest possible. Women are not allowed to enter Mount Athos by law, and there is a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment for those who break it. Boys were not allowed in the past, but the policy has become more flexible over the years, and now boys can come if they're accompanied by an adult - usually their father.

To enter Mount Athos a permit is required for both individuals and groups. The permit is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Churches or by the Ministry of Northern Greece. Orthodox Greeks can apply by producing their identity card at the Athos Bureau in Ouranoupolis on the right side of the port. Diamonitiria (permits to stay as a pilgrim) are issued by the offices of the Athos Bureau, at Ouranoupolis. In order to get their diamonitirion visitors must show their identity cards and pay the sum of €25 for Orthodox visitors, €35 for non-Orthodox visitors or €18 for students. Foreign visitors also need a passport; if you are Orthodox but not Greek, you will need to prove this with a letter from a priest or a baptismal certificate. Foreigners can send an e-mail to a photocopy of the request along with their passport. Once you have secured your accommodation, you will need to contact the monastery that you wish by sending a letter to the guest request.

Once in Agio Oros, you can travel around. The hospitality at the monasteries is provided free of charge. Bed and board are offered to the holders of the permit. If you are planning to visit Mount Athos you should bring with you long sleeved shirts, long trousers, flashlight, athletic shoes and a flashlight. Bear in mind that the monastery doors close by sunset. Mobile phones and photo cameras are allowed, but DO NOT photograph the monks. Video cameras are not allowed. Swimming in the sea or listening to loud music is not allowed either. Follow the ritual during lunch and dinner. Everyone, visitors and monks enter the dining room and stand upright in front of their seat. The Abbot prays, gives his blessing, a bell sounds, and everyone sits down to eat without talking to each other. A monk reads ecclesiastic texts and in about 20 minutes the bell sounds for the second time. If you have or you have not finished eating, you must get up, the abbot prays and after he finish you can get out of the dining room.

The Mount Athos Pilgrims’ Bureau- Athos
Official Office
109 Egnatia str,
54635 Thessaloniki
Tel. for nationals +302310252575 Tel. for foreigners +302310252578 Fax +302310222424
Thessaloniki office hours: Monday-Friday 09:00 – 14:00, Saturday: 10:00 – 12:00