Friday, January 22, 2010

St. Dionysios the Righteous of Olympus, and his Monastery

St. Dionysios the Righteous of Olympus - Commemorated on January 23rd (icon taken from:

Brief Life of the Saint
"The [Holy Monastery of St. Dionysios of Olympus] was founded in 1542 by St. Dionysios. A charismatic figure, bearing unquenecheable the seal of the All - Holy Spirit, St. Dionysios has been a prototype anchorite, as well coenobetic monk, and cenobite, a perfect example of gentleness, humility and spiritual perfection, a spiritual leader for many souls, both of monks and thw laity. At the same time he was a writer with a rich hagiological and spiritual work, a monastic rule - setter, an icon painter, a manuscript copyist and teacher of children.

He was born in the late 15th century in Sklataina (Drakotrypa), located at the region of Fanari, Karditsa. At a young age, he departed for the Great Meteoron Monastery, where he became monk and was renamed to Daniil. Seeking a more isolated place, he moved to Mount Athos, where he was tonsured to schema - monk and then ordained deacon and priest. He lived as ascetic near the Holy Monastery Karakalou observing austere ascetism, prayer and fast, experiencing many miraculous acts of God. His angel-like life led to his election as Hegumen of the Bulgarian, at the time, Monastery Filotheou, which he renovated, compiled monastic rules and Hellenized it. The reactions he became faced with on account of these changes were big; hence he fled from this Monastery and was installed at the Monastery Timiou Prodromou, in Veria.

In order to avoid his election as bishop, pursued by the locals, he secretly fled to Mt. Olympus. Slandered, though, he was chased off his cell, and he departed for Pilio, where he founded the Monastery of Sourvia. Three years later and due to the complete aridity that inflicted the area of Olympus, he officially returned following invitation by the local commander and founded, in 1542, the Monstery of Holy Trinity, further to God’s miraculous suggestion.

His angelic life soon attracted a mass of monks, but he preferred to lead an ascetic life in prayer in caves of the area, such as the cave of Christ’s Birth (Holy Cave), the kathisma (cell) of Prophet Elias on the top of Mt. Olympus, etc. He combined in a unique way the austerity of monastic life with the unremitting care for the Greeks subjugated by the Turks. He toured the towns and villages of Macedonia and Thessalia, provided the people with spiritual guidance and support, worked miracles and built Churches. His love for the people was infinite. He died in peace, on the 23rd of January in the cave of St. Lazarus located at the old Monastery, leaving us the priceless treasure of his graceful relics, which have conducted multiple miracles up to date."
"The exalted life of St Dionysius became known, and many monks came to hear his edifying words. He also guided many lawless people onto the path of salvation, among whom was a robber who intended to rob the saint's cell, but was moved to repentance by the Elder's kind and wise words...[St. Dionysios] fled to Mount Olympus in order to avoid being consecrated as a bishop. Here those zealous for monasticism began to flock to him. Dionysius built cells for them and also a church and they spent their time in fasting and prayer. Having attained the spiritual heights, he worked many miracles. Often, through the prayers of the saint, the Lord punished iniquitous people who oppressed the monks of Olympus or broke the commandments of Christ. The holdings of a Turk who had expelled the monks and wrecked their monastery were destroyed by severe drought and by hail. The cattle of a herdsman who had oppressed the monastery were stricken with disease and sickness; because of her impudence, a maiden from one of the villages was subjected to an assault of the devil. They all received healing and deliverance from misfortune through the prayers of St Dionysius, after being led to penitence by his lack of malice. "
"For St. Dionysios of Olympus, God was his total enjoyment, spiritual pleasure, and care during his ascetic struggles in Panagia's garden. Taking no care for his bodily sustenance, he fed only on wild chestnuts. But the all-merciful and all-caring God, to show His endless care and protection toward those who are His friends and servants, allowed the following to happen on a Saturday before the Great Lent.

A monk from the monastery of Zographou came to him and said, "Holy Father, the Great Lent is here. Take this food to comfort your weak body a little bit, and give thanks to God, Who provides abundantly and satisfies the entire world with His love." After he said this, he vanished, in spite of the saint's pleading for him to stay and share the food with him.

The saint was amazed that the fish brought by the unknown monk was still alive, and the cheese was so fresh that whey was dripping from it, and he praised the all-providing God."
(excerpt from the Athonite Geronikon:

The Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of St. Dionysios of Olympus
"The Holy Monastery was founded by its founder as Patriarchal and Stavropegic and was dedicated to the Holy Trinity, following Divine revelation. Later on, the name of its founder predominated. St. Dionysios created a monument of rare architectural and aesthetic beauty, ideally integrated into the natural environment; built as a fortress, from stone and wood, on a natural fortified plateau."
"Thanks to St. Dionysios΄ blessings, despite the numerous destructions, the Monastery has been enjoying continuous life and monks΄ presence for about 500 years. Due to St. Dionysios΄ personality, it soon became widely known and developed great spiritual activity, in line with its founder΄s pattern.

Centuries ago, the reputation of the old Monastery surpassed the boundaries of the Greek territory reaching Tsarist Russia.

Even today, thousands of people, coming from both neighboring and distant areas, come to worship and pray to the Saint.

The Monastery of St. Dionysios became integral part of Greece΄s long history, society and education. There was an organized icon painting workshop and manuscript transcription center, thanks to which many old texts have been preserved. The Monastery΄s school was attended by many pupils, including the areas΄ great chieftains, perhaps even Rigas Fereos.

The Monastery however was destined to be afflicted, suffer the price for its contribution to the education of the faithful, to the protection of traditions. In 1821, it was set afire by Veli Pasha, son of Ali Pasha. After a three-day battle, Hegumen Methodios Paliouras was hung along with another 12 monks at the central square of Larissa.

During the Olympus Revolt in 1878, the Monastery took again active part; by providing shelter to the women and children of Litochoro, it disrupted for the first time the entrance prohibition for women. The Metochion of Skala was used as replenishment and disembarkation station for the Greek fighters. During the Macedonian Struggle, it constituted again shelter for the fighters and replenishment station.

Despite all the successive natural or volitional destructions and the ceaseless pillages, the Monastery kept on protecting the inhabitants of Mt. Olympus under its sacred shadow."

"Today, the visitor will find the new Monastery, at a height lower than the initial building, at the location of the old Metochion of Skala, built in 1650, at 3 km from Litohoro and 15 km from the old Monastery.

Its main church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Mother of God. Its temple is adorned by the icons, painted in 1955 by the brilliant hagiographer Fotis Kontoglou.

From 1989 on was restituted the Monastery΄s entrance prohibition for women, in line with the tradition bequeathed by St. Dionysios. Only men are allowed in the prohibited area. Here are located the monks΄ cells, the workshops, the dining room and the main church, where are celebrated the daily services.

In the remaining area, where all believers are allowed, a new spectacular church, dedicated to St. Dionysios, was built, where the Divine Liturgy is celebrated every Sunday."
Metochia [Dependancies] and Chapels
"Located at hard-to-access, secluded spots, the hermits΄ cells exercise in their turn a strange attraction to the visitor, inviting him to meditation.

The hermit΄s cell of Christ΄s Birth is located in a cave, against a wonderful scenery. There gushes holy water and are preserved the small church where the Saint celebrated the Mass and the narrow cell in which he lived.

The ΄΄Palaiomonastiro΄΄, to the west of the main Monastery, was, according to tradition, St. Dionysios΄΄ first and initial shelter. Earlier, there had been a ruined little church. Today, on this steep location there are ruins of a small tower bearing all the traits of the typical watch tower of Athonite monasteries. From this location one could visually inspect the whole Enipeas valley as far as the sea.

The highest Christian Orthodox country church, dedicated to Prophet Elias, adorns the homonymic peak (2,803 meters). It was built in the 16th century by St. Dionysios, who celebrated the Mass and sojourned there from time to time. The chapel of St. Lazarus, where St. Dionysios died, and the cemetery church dedicated to St. John the Baptist, are some of the chapels surrounding the Monastery.

Earlier there were also other chapels dating back to St. Dionysios΄ era, for some of which, i.e. that of Metamorphosis on the homonymic peak, their location is known to us, while for others their location was forgotten as time went by.

There were also many chapels at the foot of Mount Olympus, such as those of St. Dimitrios, St. Georgios, Ste. Makrina, and Ste. Paraskevi, of which only ruins remain today.

In parallel, in the course of its history, the Monastery acquired also a number of dependency monasteries or churches (Metochion), such as those of St. Georgios Korinos, St. Georgios Ritinis, Panagia Makrirachi, Panagia Kanalon, Ste. Solomoni, Ste. Matrona, Metochion in Katerini, Veria, Elassona, Pyrgetos, etc."

A short video which shows the Monastery and the surrounding area can be seen here:

Various service recordings from the Monastery (in Greek) can be downloaded here:

May St. Dionysios intercede for us all and help us!

Apolytikion in the First Tone
Thou didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Dionysios, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to Him that hath given thee strength. Glory to Him that hath crowned thee. Glory to Him that worketh healings for all through thee.
Apolytikion in the First Tone (amateur translations below)
The builder at Olympus and the boast of Pierias, and the holy surrounding wall of the Monastery that bears your name, you were shown to be, O wise Dionysios, for you lived as an Angel on earth, and you grant grace to those who reverently flee to your protection. Glory to Him Who gave you strength, glory to Him Who crowned you, glory to Him Who grants to us through you, healings for all.

Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
You shone, O Father, with the rays of continence, and were seen as a pure vessel of the Holy Spirit, O wise Father Dionysios, entreating that we be granted deliverance from our sins.

You shone on Olympus ascetically with the rays of miracles, and you truly shine upon all Pierias, who faithfully praise your struggles, O godly Dionysios.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!


Iuliana said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Agioi_Anargyroi said...

I'm sorry, but as I mention in the side bar Blog Guidelines:

"Comments that are irrelevant to the topic of the post will be deleted."

May Christ, the Theotokos and all the Saints help His servant Ioanna Adriana.

Iuliana said...

Thank you for your prayer! God bless!