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Esphigmenou Monastery (Athos)

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In between the raids and fire Esphigmenou was favored by the emperors in Constantinople as imperial chrysobulls record the acquisition of property for Esphigmenou in Prolakas, Sloutarass, Krosouvo, Vrasta, Thessaloniki, and Constantinople. Also, Esphigmenou is noted as being the home, in 1310, of St. Athanasius who was Patriarch of Constantinople and of Gregory Palamas, in 1335, who was Archbishop of Thessalonki.
In the seventeenth century, Esphigmenou entered into a period of decline due to serious financial difficulties. The monastery began a recovery during the following century. This recovery was aided by Grigorios, Metropolitan of Meleniko Melenikion who made payment of the monastery's debts his main project.
In early part of the nineteenth century, Theodoritos of the Lavra, as the [[abbot]] of Esphigmenou, reorganized the monastery as a coenobium and began the construction of a new [[katholikon]] in 1806 on the site of an earlier [[church]] built in 1010. He built other new buildings such as a new [[refectory]] as well. Between 1821 and 1832 Esphigmenou ceased to exist as a monastery as the Ottoman Turkish army commandeered and used the monastery buildings as barracks during the Greek war for independence. With the departure of the Turkish forces, the monastery was restored by Agathangelos Ayiannanitis. The rebuilding effort continued until 1870 and resulted in the construction of the monastery's modern buildings. These included the addition of a exo[[narthex]] on the katholikon, construction of the [[bell tower]] and a number of [[chapel]]s and the southern gateway.
The katholikon is dedicated to the Ascension of Our Lord. There are eight two chapels in the katholikon and seven outside of it.
While Esphigmenou is ranked eighteenth among the twenty monasteries on Mount Athos, it withdrew its representative from the Holy Community in 1974 and does not take part in the assemblies of the Community. The withdrawal by the monks was precipitated by a break with the Ecumenical Patriarch for violations of the doctrines of the Church in regards to the Ecumenical Patriarchate's relations with non-Orthodox, particularly its involvement in the [[Roman Catholic Church]]Ecumenical Movement. Esphigmenou has also refused funding from the European Union. The abbot, Methodius, stated that the monks of Esphigmenou Monastery do not want some had refused fifteen million euros that was offered by the European Union to the monastery, noting that offers of such large amounts of money surely are made in the expectation of receiving something in exchange.
On [[December 20]], 2006, a group of Esphigmenou monks clashed violently with another group of monks outside the monastery. When , when the outside monks attempted to gain access to the monastery's representative offices in Karyes, they were attacked by Esphigmenou monks using crowbars and fire extinguishers. The monks have refused an eviction order by Ecumenical Patriarch [[Bartholomew I (Archontonis) of Constantinople|Bartholomew I]] and in October 2006, a Thessaloniki court issued two-year suspended sentences against nine monks and former monastery members for illegally occupying Esphigmenou's offices.[]

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