The History of Holy Kalyve of the Global Raising Aloft of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross (Timios Stavros)

The historical Holy Kalyve of the Global Raising Aloft of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross is situated at the Holy Skete of Saint Anna on the Athos Holy Mountain.

In 1652 the Kalyve is being renovated by Deacon and tutor Dionysios Kotis, something also confirmed by the relic icon of Saint Dionysios Areopagites located on the old historical altar of the Holy Cross chapel. This is a historical turning point offering the prove that the Holy Kalyve – from its renovation in 1652 till our days – enjoys an uninterrupted successor line. During the long history of Mounth Athos it is the only case of a Kalyve or a Cell having reached 361 consecutive years of operation, history and culture cultivation.

Deacon Dionysios was later succeded by Theofanis the Monk (1730) from Kephalonia island in the Ionian Sea.

The connecting link in this long tradition appears to be monk Savvas, who remains alone during the 1821 Greek revolution against the Ottoman oppression, praying to the Holly Cross and offering his savior blood for the accomplishment of the mission of the warriors. All the other monks of the Kalyve took part as volunteers to the liberation struggle against the infidel ottoman conqueror.

The year 1840 poses a landmark for the historical continuity of the Kalyve, as four blood brothers Ananias, Ioannikios, Evgenios and Kyrillos from Almyros in the Magnesia Region of Thessaly joined the brotherhood as monks.

Monk Ananias took over the Hagiography and Ioannikios dedicated himself to the spiritual part. Indeed Monk Ananias 1st has rapidly made significant progress in Hagiography, during a period of influence of the so-called Russian School of Icons Painting, teaching his brothers this high artistic approach. All the painting materials were coming exclusively from the Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleymon  (known also as the Russian Monastery) and certified by the competent Monks. By the oral tradition through the Elders we know that the historical Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleymon honored Ananias A’ by calling the Kalyve as “Hagiographic House of the Ananeus Brotherhood of the Holy Kalyve of the Global Raising Aloft of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross”. 

As an associate and Hagiographer of the Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleymon, Ananias besides the high painting skills Ananias learned together with his brother Monk Evgenios the Russian language. Although such a relationship kept them relative unknown in the Greek world, it has resulted a significant stash of relics and artifacts in the Holy Kalyve from the Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleymon.

Additionally a signed contract existed between the Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleymon (known also as the Russian Monastery) and the Holy Kalyve of the Global Raising Aloft of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross for a certain amount of paintings in Russian style to be crafted and delivered to the Monastery. According to the Elder Kyrillos B’ the Mighty, these paintings were inteded for the pilgrims and visitors of the Russian steamship, which made a stop at the Monastery on its regular route to Jerousalem.

The Holy Kalyve was regularly visited by high-ranking Russian officials and monks as a result of an excellent brotherly atmosphere and cooperation. With the blessings of the Monastery’s chief engineer Elder Epiphanios “the Russian”, the Kalyve received from Russia a highly sophisticated (for its time) working bench for making delicate repaires. Elder Epiphanios also gave as a gift to his good friend Elder monk Evgenios A’ a table watch, which is now part of the museum collection of the Kalyve. The Russian Polytechnic School of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg honoring the cooperation between the Holy Monastery and the Holy Kalyve of the Global Raising Aloft of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross, donated (“for honoring and preventing oblivion”) to the Hagiographic House of Ananeus an exquisite icon of the Birth of the Christ.

In memory of our Elders a great number of monks are registered to have visited and been hosted in the Kalyve from the “blessed North” as Elder Kyrillos B’ “the mighty” used to say.

The Brotherhood working for a long time together with the beloved brother Father Serafim from the Holy Monastery of Saint Panteleymon crafted Russian-style icons continuing the longstanding historical relationship. He always appreciated our relationship and our longstanding loving friendship.

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