Friday, February 27, 2015

Petraki Monastery, Athens - Greece

Petraki Monastery has existed for more than 1000 years. The ''Katholiko'', i.e. the central church within the monastery, is built in the Byzantine style, the oldest style of church architecture in Southern Greece.

The Monastery was renovated in 1673 by the Physician priest and monk, Parthenios Petrakis. Parthenios and his successors protected the Monastery from barbarian assaults and endowed it with lands, properties, and other materials necessary for its maintenance. A considerable quantity of Greek and foreign documents, dating between 1672 and 1820 are preserved in the files of the Monastery. They reveal that the greater proportion of the property belonging to the Monastery entered in to its possession through personal gifts and spiritual dedications made during those years.

The Monastery is known for its intensive and remarkable philanthropic programme. For example, during the Ottoman domination of Greece it:
a. Offered free medical care and treatment on request,
b. Developed and maintained an elementary, primary and secondary school,
c. During 1806- 1821 established the “Deka school” - education focused upon the Greek language and classical Greek,
d. In 1812 founded a school for scientific research in 1812.

Τhe Monastery had an important role in supporting the Greek people during their struggle for independence and freedom. After Greece acquired independence in 1821, the Monastery continued to contribute to the welfare of the newly established Hellenic State.

From 1834- 1846 the monastery served as a military hospital. In 1922 it received refugees from Asia Minor. It has also provided accommodation for theological students studying in the School of Theology, at the University of Athens. Later on a separate building was constructed dedicated to the needs of theological students.

During the Second World War the Monastery distributed food to the poor and at the same time provided free medicine to the neighbouring population. Since the establishment of the modern Hellenic State in 1833 the Monastery has donated 170 parcels of land for welfare purposes. To the Greek Government it gave several acres of land for constructing central institutions like the National Gallery and buildings associated with the Greek Universities.

Nowadays the monastery is still known as ‘’MONI PETRAKI’’. It continues to live out its significant and spiritual role within the Orthodox Church. It remains a unique place of prayer and consecration through its worship and dedication to the Lord.

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