Interesting facts about the Hilandar Monastery

hilandar monastery

The Hilandar Monastery is Serbian monastery on the peninsula of Mount Athos in Greece.

The monastery was founded in 1198 by Saint Sava is the founder of autocephalous Serbian Orthodox church Saint Sava.

After the Fourth Crusade and Crusaders’ sack of Constantinople in 1204, the whole Athos came under the Latin Occupation which exposed the Athonite monasteries to an unprecedented pillage. As a result, Saint Sava travelled to Serbia to secure more resources and support for the monastery.

Serbian kings Stefan Radoslav and Stefan Vladislav, who were Saint Sava’s nephews, significantly endowed the monastery with new land possessions and proceeds.

Consequently, Serbian King Milutin is considered the greatest and most important builder of the Hilandar monastery complex. In 1320 he completely reconstructed the main church of the Entry of the Lady Theotokos into the Temple which finally took its present shape as it became a symbol of Hilandar.


There are twenty Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Mount Athos and the Hilandar Monastery is ranked fourth in the hierarchy.

Mount Athos is commonly referred to in Greek as the “Holy Mountain” and the entity as the “Athonite State”.

Etymological meaning of “Hilandar” is probably derived from Greek word chelandion, which is a type of Byzantine transport ship, whose skipper was called “helandaris”.

The Hilandar Monastery represents a focal point of Serbian religious and secular culture, as well as “the first Serbian university”.

In terms of literature, religion, the study of nature, medicine, according to all of the criteria was a real university, who is trained by the best experts in these areas at this time.

The monastery keeps the largest collection of Serbian charters, relics, relics of saints and old icons. It has the largest collection of miraculous icons in the world, even eight of which are the most valuable and most respected in the cristian world: the icon of the Virgin with three hands, the icon of Christ Pantocrator, which is the most beautiful icon of Christ on the planet and icons of Holy Virgin- Odigitria, which is considered the greatest masterpiece of Byzantine art of the thirteenth century.

hilandar monastery the Virgin with three hands

The monastery contains about 45 working monks.

Mount Athos, along with all its monasteries including Hilandar, has enteredthe UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

In the 1970s, the Greek government offered power grid installation to all of the monasteries on Mount Athos. The Holy Council of Mount Athos refused, and since then every monastery generates its own power, which is gained mostly from renewable energy sources.

During the 1980s, electrification of the monastery of Hilandar took place, generating power mostly for lights and heating.

On March 4, 2004, there was a devastating fire at the Hilandar monastery, with approximately 50% of the walled complex destroyed in the blaze. The blaze damaged the northern half of the walled complex, including the bakery. The library and the monastery’s many historic icons were saved or otherwise untouched by the fire. Vast reconstruction efforts were taken to restore Hilandar.