The righteous ones came to holy Athos with the desire to build a monastery. The renown of the righteous Athanasios attracted them, along with many others from different places. They offered to remain with him, bringing also the 9000 gold coins which they brought for their task. The righteous Athanasios however told them: “This monastery was founded by the emperor Nikephoros, and if you wish to build a monastery, behold the Monastery of Vatopedi is in ruins. Rebuild this and you will have a reward from God”. The physician-philosopher John Komnenos and later Metropolitan of Drystras Ierotheos in his well-known Guide of the Holy Mountain Athos, which was written in 1698 notes, schematically regarding the three righteous ones:
“[summarizing the above, and he continues]...they became monks in [the rebuild Monastery of Vatopedi], and lived God-pleasingly, reposing in the Lord, and their holy relics were placed in the outer narthex of the church, and they are celebrated twice in the year on December 17th and the 5th week of Pentecost”. The righteous Athanasios the Athonite inspired the founding of the athonite monasteries Vatopedi, Iveron, Docheiariou, and Philotheou.
In the apse above their tomb they are portrayed in an icon with the imperial founders, while the three righteous ones have monastic clothing and halos. This fresco was painted in 1760. The tomb is on the right part of the Mesonyktikou of the Katholikon of the monastery, which was opened in 1993 to reveal the bones of the righteous ones and a plaque in which the righteous Athanasios mentions that they should not bury anyone else in that tomb, according to ancient custom.
The study, the writings, etc. tend to concede that the first abbot of Vatopedi Monastery is the founder monk Nicholas, who was buried first in the tomb in the Katholikon after 1012. In this year he wrote for the last time. In 1048 Athanasios wrote for the last time, who was buried second, in the upper portion of the same tomb, where later Anthony was also buried. The final transformation of the tomb into a reliquary and the icon of Panagia Blachernitissa placed above in 1312 indicate that the three founders were early honored as righteous Saints.
From Monk Moses of the Holy Mountain, Vatopedino Synaxari, published by the Holy Monastery Great Monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos, 2007.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!
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