photos: Spyros Staveris
Esphigmenou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, dedicated to the Ascension of Christ. The old monastery founded by Byzantine Emperor Theodosius II the Small and his sister Pulcheria during the 5th century AD. It is considered a bastion of a group of ultra-fanatic schismatic old-calendarists monks. In 2002 the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided the dissolution of this fraternity and ordered the expulsion of them from Mount Athos. Which until now was not possible. Since 2005 a new brotherhood has been established, but the ten monks that constitute it under Archimandrite Chrysostomos Katsoulieris are living temporarily in Karyes, outside the main monastery building.
The monastery has significant relics of Orthodoxy, like manuscripts, scrolls, holy relics of saints, religious utensils, icons, crosses, garments, while frescoes and iconostases in the catholicon, the refectory(the oldest building in the moanstery) and the thirteen chapels date from the 1800s. Among the most important treasures of the monastery is a large part of Napoleon Bonaparte's tent, which was a gift from Patriach Gregory V of Constantinople to the monastery.