Holy Monasteries

Coordinates: 41.275044, 23.167601

Monastery of Timios Prodromos

At a deep ravine of the mountain Menoikio, at a distance of approximately 12 km from the city of Serres, is the Monastery of Timios Prodromos (John the Baptist), which due to the long history is considered to be one of the most important and historic monastery centres in  Macedonia.

Its foundation dates from 1270, when the priest-monk Ioannikios from Serres, together with the orphan nephew Ioakeim settled at the area, renovating the ruined small church that was at this location and organizing the first monastic community. In 1290 Ioannikios was elected bishop of Ezevon and when he died, in 1300, he was buried in the yard of the monastery. He was succeeded by his nephew Ioakeim, at the time bishop of Zichni, who renovated and expanded the monastery and returned to it just before his death, in 1333, taking the monk name Ioannis. The monastery was benefited and later by the Byzantine emperors, as well as the tsar of Serbia, Stephen Dusan, during the 14th century. It developed into an important intellectual centre, it obtained large property, and received the stauropegic privilege. Here he withdrew, died and was buried, in 1472, and the first Ecumenical Patriarch after the fall of Constantinople, Gennadius Scholarius. During the period of the Ottoman domination the monastery maintained all its privileges, and in the 19th century there were a Greek and a Hieratic School here. In 1913, as well as during the two World Wars, it suffered serious destructions and looting by the Bulgarians, particularly of its valuable archive and its rich library.

At the centre of the yard of the monastery is the catholicon, which dates from the 14th century. it is an aisleless church with a dome and the apse of the altar area has three sides on its exterior. On the west there are two narthexes, from which the esonarthex is called “Mesoniktiko or liti” and the exonarthex “Enati”. On the upper part of the Enati there is the aisleless, vaulted chapel of Agios Nikolaos, where there is the tomb of Eleni, sister of the Serbian despot of Serres in the 14th century, John Ugljesa. To the west there is an open portico and a bell tower. On the northern side there are two chapels, of Agios Spyridon and Agios Ioannis, the founder of the monastery, who was canonized in 1505 and his memory is honored on the 12th of December, together with Agios Spyridon. On the southern side is the so-called “Makrinariki”, an oblong hall.

Of particular interest are the wall paintings that decorate the catholicon and the chapels. These are icons that date from the 14th to the 19th century, reflecting the painting tendencies that were prevalent each period in the wider area. The wooden-carved screen of the church was made in 1803. Around the catholicon there are the cells of the monks, the refectory and the buildings of the hieratic school, which with their external walls form a precinct with a tall tower on the one corner.

Since 1986 the sisterhood from the Monastery of Panagia Odegetria of Portaria in Pilio settled in the ruined monastery under the guidance of the Efraim of the Monastery of Philotheos in Mount Athos. 

In 2010 the monastery suffered serious damages caused by a fire. However, due to the everyday huge efforts of the nuns and the assistance of pilgrims and friends of the monastery, it tends to return to its former glory and honor.





29 August

Holy Metropolis: 
Serres and Nigrita

Under the Supervision of: 
Ephorate of Antiquities of Serres

Mountain Menoikio 62100



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