Monastery of Saint David the Elder (I)

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Evia pilgrimage . Our next stop was the Monastery of Saint David the Elder.

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In northern Evia, on the slopes of Mount Kavalaris, at a height of 927 meters above sea-level and at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Aidipsos, lies the Holy Monastery of Saint David.

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The monastery was founded and built in about 1540, thanks to Saint David.

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It was built in 1520 by the young (at that time) ascetic David, using contributions from rich monks and Christians of Greece, Moldovlachia and Russia. During the Turkish domination the Monastery became a shelter for the miserable inhabitants of the area and «hidden school» for slaveries. In 1824 Turks butchered all the Monks and burnt the Monastery.

After the Greek War of Independence, a new monastery was founded. In 1870 the Katholikon of the monastery that is dedicated to the Transfiguration of Jesus and to the holy founder Venerable David, was destroyed by an earthquake. It was rebuilt in 1877 by Anthimos Aggelis who was Abbot at that time. The largest estate of the Monastery was expropriated in 1933.

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The Main Church is where the relics of Saint David are kept, as well as his censer, his stole (of Russian provenance) and other valuable treasures.

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In 1951, in the priorship of Archimandrite Nikodemos Thomas, the Monastery was restored from the beginning and many new chapels (Saint Archangel Michael, Holy martyr Polycarpus, Saint Varvara, Saint George and Assumption of the Virgin, Venerable Eiriny Chrysovalantou, Saint Nectarios, Saint Vasil and Saint Demetrios) were built. A new building contains large guest rooms which can offer hospitality to over one hundred worshippers. Only one part of the east aisle of the old building of the Monastery is preserved. Of particular interest is the chapel of Saint Charalampos, that firstly was the cell of Saint David, where he stayed every Saturday. The Byzantine chapel (catacomb) of Saints Anargyros is found undamaged under it. It is decorated with marvelous wall paintings of the 18th century.

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The Igumen from 1975 to 1991 was Elder Iakovos (Tsalikis), who was formally glorified as a saint on November 27, 2017 by the Sacred and Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, following the approval and recommendation of the Church of Greece.The feast day of Venerable Iakovos of Euboea The New Ascetic was set on November 22 each year. His glorification was liturgically celebrated on Sunday June 3, 2018, at St. David Monastery, headed by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, with the concelebration of 30 Orthodox bishops from the Greek and Cypriot Orthodox Churches and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

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The agionery (holy water) is found about 1 km north of the Monastery. According to tradition, Saint David struck the rock with his stick and it gushed curative holy water.

To the south of the Monastery, about twenty minutes on foot, near a ravine, the pilgrim finds a cave. It, according to tradition, was the room of the training (Asceterion) of Saint David, who lived on scanty bread all the week.

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It is worth mentioning the Reliquary of the Monastery, where, besides the relics of Saint David, relics of many Saints (Protomartyr Stefanos, Cyprianus, Justin, Tryfon, Charalampus, Panteleymon, Therapon, Anargyron Cyrus and John) are kept. These have been carried by David from the Ecumenical Patriarchate in the patriarchy of Jeremia II the Grand (Tranos). In the end, Venerable David’s Russian stole and a Russian censer, his staff, old icons and three woodcut-crosses are saved in the Museum of the Monastery. One of the three crosses is from the era of Palaiologoi.

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The monastery celebrates: the Transfiguration of the Lord (6/8) Saint David (1/11) the Holy Unmercenary Doctors (1/7), Saint Haralambos (10/2), the Dormition of the Mother of God (15/8) and Saint George (23/4).

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Photos: Pemptousia

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