Skete Agiou Andrea-Serai

Skete Agiou Andrea-Serai

In the southwest wing of the building of the Skete of Agios Andreas, near Karyes, at an altitude of approximately 400 meters, the "Athonia Ecclesiastical Academy" operates today. Initially (1749–1821), Athonias was housed in a specially built complex on a hill near the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, to its east, while during the period 1832–1930 the school functioned in various cells of Karia.


Athonias was founded on the initiative of the previous Meletios Vatopaidinos. The founding seal of the school was issued by the patriarch Cyril V in 1748, while the magnificent building for its accommodation was built with the expenses of the Vatopedi monastery. It included 170 rooms, a bank, a chapel, a library and classrooms. It had the form of a Supreme Academy, according to a similar patriarchal seal, where it is named as "a school of Greek lessons, education and instruction everywhere in logical, philosophical and theological sciences". As the main permanent financial resource of the school, the annual ecclesiastical rights of the patriarchate granted to it by the diocese of Ierissos and Mount Athos and which amounted to 24,000 aspras were granted.

The first director and teacher of ancient Greek was Neophytos Kaufsokalyvitis and then Agapios Agiotafitis, who managed the school for only 4 months, as he was "carried out of Thessaloniki by vicious murderous Genjis returning from Galatistis of his homeland". In 1753, the great Evgenios Voulgaris took over the directorship, with a particularly high salary, 1,000 grosci a year, and with the condition that he would have "everywhere for himself and a sub-teacher". Panagiotis Palamas was appointed as Voulgaris' assistant teacher, who taught grammar lessons. The school's curriculum included classical philology, ancient and modern philosophy, mathematics and physics.

The school quickly gained a great reputation and attracted many students. However, the modernity of Eugene's teaching at the time, internal disputes and factions negatively affected its operation. Eugene resigned from its directorship: in 1759 he voluntarily left Mount Athos and fled to Constantinople, where he assumed the directorship of the Patriarchal Academy. However, the school continued to operate, albeit with many problems.

Repeated attempts to make it bloom again did not have the desired results. The first attempt was due to Patriarch Seraphim II (1757–1761) and ended with the resignation of the Metsovite director Nikolaos Zerzoulis in 1761. This was followed by the abandonment of Athoniada by the students, who preferred the traditions of Eugenios at the Patriarchal Academy of Constantinople. From 1761 to 1769 it appears that the school was not in operation. Patriarch Ioannikios III (1761–1763) invited Nikiforos Theotokis, an admirer of Voulgaris, to take over the direction of the school, but this attempt was also unsuccessful.

And other attempts, in 1769, failed due to reactions from the monks of the Vatopediou monastery, who did not approve of placing the Kozanite hieromonk Kyrillos and his student Ioannis Pezaros (1749–1806) in the position of director of the school. In 1782, another attempt initiated by Gabriel IV also failed. In 1784, Kyprianos and his brother Ioannis, originally from Crete, appeared as teachers. Kyprianos remained headmaster until his death, in 1799. Under his administration, Athonias fell into an inferior school of grammar courses, which had nothing to do with Voulgaris, and after his death it seems that its operation temporarily stopped.

In 1801 the patriarch Kallinikos V made efforts for its reconstitution. His movement did not work, although local committees were established to strengthen it in about 120 cities in Western Europe, Russia and the Balkans. Among the supporters was Adamantios Korais in Paris. The situation for the course of the school worsened with the interventions of the patriarch Gregory V, who in the period 1808-1818 was in exile on Mount Athos, as he received many reactions when he attempted to transfer it from Vatopaidi to Karyes.

Finally, Athonias ceased its operation in 1821. Its last teacher was Athanasios Philippides or Philippoupolites, who had been appointed in 1804.

Among the school's students are Cosmas Aitolos, Iosepos Moisiodax, Christophoros Makraios/, Christodoulos Pamplekis, the neomartyr Athanasios of Xirokrini, Gabriel Kalonas, Athanasios Parios and Rigas Feraios.

During the period 1832-1842 it seems that an "Organization of the Athonia School" functioned in Karyes. The lessons were probably held in the building of the Holy Episcopacy, where "it seems that a part or a room was allocated that was used as a School before, which functions irregularly".

The school was re-established in 1842 with a patriarchal letter of Germanos IV. For housing , the Holy Community bought from the Koutloumousiou monastery the cell of the Holy Forerunner of Sakalleros, which was located at the north-eastern entrance of Karea. The cell, which was in a dilapidated condition, was demolished. In its place, the construction of a new building began and was completed in 1844. The name of the school is now "Central Athonia School". Its operation began only the following year, in 1845, with Daniel Magnitas the Iberian as director. The new school offered its services until 1925. During this period, 35 teachers are mentioned, among them Bartholomeos Koutloumousianos, Nikiforos Glykas and Christoforos Ktenas.

Since 1930, Athonias has been housed in the external guest house of the Vatopedi Skete of Agios Andreas (Serai) in Karyes. Archimandrite Athanasios Pantokratorinos took over as the first schoolmaster. It operates to this day, with an interruption between the years 1940 and 1953.

In 1953, it reopened in the complex of Skitis Agios Andreas as "Athonia Ecclesiastical Academy" and Boarding School (free food and accommodation). Metropolitan Nathanael of Miletoupolis was appointed its first headmaster. Among the courses, "maintenance of libraries with elements of librarianship" was also provided. But also in the timetable of 1972, hours of librarianship, typography and bookbinding lessons were foreseen.

Today, the General Ecclesiastical Gymnasium and Ecclesiastical Lyceum of Athonias of Mount Athos is a legal entity of public law, equal and equivalent to the other public schools of the Greek territory, and provides the same possibilities of access to higher education. Students, in addition to the timetable of secondary education, are additionally taught theological courses, church music and iconography. The school's resources come from grants from the Ministry of Education and the Holy Community.


Today the library of Athoniada is housed on the first floor of the school building and includes only printed materials. The origins of the current library coincide with the establishment of the first Athonia School in 1844 in Karyes. The library of the original, Vatopedi, Athonias was transferred after the closure of the school in 1821 to the Vatopedi monastery.

For the establishment of a library during the first period of operation of the school (1749–1821) there was special care from the first years after its foundation. Many efforts to enrich the library were made by Evgenios Voulgaris. Among other things, his letter of thanks to the Jerusalem patriarch Ephraim II, for the copies of the Grammar he received and which he distributed to his students, is preserved. Also, in 1755, Evgenios Voulgaris received the library of the monk Sophronios, an ascetic in a cell of the Lavra in the area of ​​Amalfi, who bequeathed it to Athoniada.

Nikiforos Theotokis (1731–1800) also bequeathed his personal library to the school. But his books were never delivered to her. They reached the monastery of Iberon and from there, after pressure from the patriarchate and Dorotheos Proiou<.strong>, they were transferred in 1805 to the Patriarchal Penkoinos School in Xirokrini.

In the 1641 Codex of the monastery, in a catalog of books of the school, 337 volumes are numbered. Of these, 17 are handwritten.

In the Archive of the Holy Community, in Karyes, some catalogs of Athoniada books are found. One of them is of Dionysios Lavriotos, dated February 10, 1849, which records 299 books, and in fact almost all priced. In the same year, Bartholomeos Koutolumousianos recorded the books and movable objects of the school. It informs us that some of the library's multiple copies were sold, and names them. This record contains a total of 446 books. Of these, 50 were sold. Also, in 1853, a list was drawn up by order of the Holy Episcopacy. It contains a total of 464 books. In 1856, Archimandrite Zacharias Daniilopoulos Xiropotaminos, from Galatista of Halkidiki, vicar at Agios Georgios in Vienna, donated his library to Athonada - 224 recorded volumes of books (the list is in the Vatopedi Archives). There is also another handwritten catalog from September 21, 1885, where 191 titles are recorded.

With the reopening of the school in 1930, the reorganization of the library also began. In its first session (22.11.1930) the Ephorate of Athonias, under the chairmanship of the schoolmaster Athanasios Pantokratorinos, decided to move the library from the building of Karios and house it in the Skete of Agios Andreas, to allocate an amount of 5,000 drachmas for the purchase of the published volumes of the Great Greek Encyclopedia of Drandakis that would be completed the following year, and invited, through the Holy Community, the monasteries to donate any multiple copies. The monasteries responded. Thus, most of the books of Athoniada are a donation of the holy monasteries. In 1931 the Vatopedi monastery donated 41 volumes of various books. In the same year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also offered 175 volumes of books and various pamphlets. In 1935, Pagratios the Iberian, a doctor, offered Athoniada the entire Encyclopedia of Eleftheroudakis.

In the years 1956–1957 a manuscript catalog was compiled, which incorporated the books of the previous catalogs and added those entered until its compilation. It lists 1,062 titles of Greek and 436 foreign language publications.

The effort to enrich the library continued. During the period from 1978 to 1997 the books multiplied.

In 1985, Yiannis Karas published in the "Agioritek Libraries" series of the Center for Modern Greek Research of the National Research Foundation a list of Greek publications up to 1900 belonging to the libraries of Protatos and Athonias. The titles attributed to Athoniada reach 271. These are books of all kinds, but primarily educational. The first document that the researcher finds in the Athonia library is a 1667 edition of Hesiod's Findings that was printed in Amsterdam.


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