Mt. Athos, May 29, 2016
May 28, 2016, after the Divine Liturgy in Old Russikon on
Mt. Athos, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All
Russia, accompanied by the delegation of the Russian
Orthodox Church, visited the Xilourgou Skete dedicated to
the Dormition of the Most Holy
Theotokos—historically the first Russian monastery
on the Holy Mountain, where restoration work was carried
out for the thousand-year anniversary of the Russian
presence on Mt. Athos.
His Holiness was met by the spiritual father of St.
Panteleimon Monastery Hieromonk Makary, the superior of
the skete Hieromonk Symeon, and the brothers of the
The primate of the Russian Orthodox Church visited the
skete’s ancient Dormition Cathedral, and also the
Church of Venerable John of Rila.
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill consecrated the Church of
the Holy Equals-to-the-Apostles Kirill and Methodius in
the brothers’ dormitory, built in 1885, and then led
the serving of a Moleben in the newly-consecrated church,
At the end of the service His Holiness addressed those
gathered in the church. The primate of the Russian Church
gave Xilourgou Skete Eucharistic vessels as a gift.
Then His Holiness, accompanied by the skete superior
Hieromonk Symeon, surveyed the buildings of the skete.
* * *
Xilourgou Skete (“carpenter”), dedicated
to the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos is the first
Russian Monastery on Athos, located on the eastern side of
the Holy Mount Athos, an hour’s journey from Karyes.
It is associated with the Russian monastery of St.
Panteleimon on Mt. Athos.
The skete was founded in the middle of the tenth
century. From the beginning of the twelfth century
Xilourgou has been referenced as a “Russian”
habitation. Particularly, Russian pilgrims to Athos
settled in Xilourgou.
The resettlement of Russian monastics in St.
Panteleimon Monastery occurred in 1169 under Abbot
Lavrenty by the decision of the general meeting of the
abbots of the Athonite monasteries, transferring the
monastery to the ownership of the Russian monks. From that
moment Xilourgou Skete was assigned to St. Panteleimon
In the nineteenth century in the skete, besides the
Dormition Cathedral Church, two churches were built, in
honor of St. John of Rila and Sts. Kirill and
The main relic of the skete is the icon of the Mother
of God “Sweet Kissing” (Glykofilousa), gifted
to the skete in 1802.
Restoration work was underway in the skete in the past
several years, including the Church of Venerable John of
Rila in disrepair, the renovation of the brothers’
housing, and the reconstruction of the entrance road.