Georgian monastic presence on Mount Athos from 970 to 1100 Cover Image
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Georgian monastic presence on Mount Athos from 970 to 1100
Georgian monastic presence on Mount Athos from 970 to 1100

Author(s): Kyrill Pavlikianov
Subject(s): History, Cultural history, Middle Ages, Theology and Religion
Published by: Фондация "Българско историческо наследство"
Keywords: Mount Athos; medieval Georgia; Athonite monastery of Iviron (=of the Georgians); Georgian principality of Tao-Klarjeti;

Summary/Abstract: In the 10th and 11th century the Georgian noblemen had fully embraced the Orthodox mentality, the social values and the cultural prototypes that Byzantium propagated among its neighbours. The first Georgian monk attested on Mount Athos appeared in 979–984. This was the founder of the Athonite monastery of Iviron (=of the Georgians), John Tornikios, who was usually referred to in the Greek documents as synkellos. The second eminent Georgian attested on Athos was the aristocrat John the Iberian, superior of Iviron from about 979–980 to 1005. His real name was Aboulherit, and he was born in the Georgian principality of Tao-Klarjeti – 200 km in the mountains to the east of Trebizond and not far from Batumi, on the east coast of the Black Sea, The next eminent Georgian attested as an Athonite monk was the nobleman Euthymios, superior of Iviron from 1005 to 1019 and son of the first hegoumenos of Iviron, John the Iberian. He rendered from Georgian into Greek the so-called Balahvari or Balavariani novel, i.e. the famous medieval romance of Barlaam and Ioasaph, which Greek tradition unreasonably connected with name of St. John Damascene. Euthymios’s successor as a superior of Iviron, George, was too an eminent Georgian nobleman. He became hegoumenos in 1019, and a few years later received special honours from the Emperor Roman III Argyros. However, in 1029 he was accused of having supported a conspiracy in favour of the governor of Thessalonica, Constantine Diogenes, and was exiled in a monastery situated at the locality called Monovata, where he died. The next superior of Iviron was the Georgian aristocrat George Hagioreites, who signed the Athonite Typikon of Constantine IX Monomachos. He ruled the Georgian Athonite monastery from about 1044 to 1056. He was born around 1009 in the Georgian town of Trialeti and his parents belonged to the eminent aristocratic clan of Samtskhe. The next superior of Iviron was the Georgian aristocrat Arsenios, who ruled the monastery from 1056 to 1059. His lay name was Pharsman and he acquired from Constantine IX Monomachos an annual rent of 72 golden coins for his monastery. In 1056, a Greek act mentioned as a deceased monk of Iviron the aristocrat Tornikios (in religion Kosmas) Kontoleon, who in 1014 was attested as a strategos of Kephalonia and in 1017 as a katepano of Italy (1017). In 1062–1064 the Synodikon of the Iviron monastery mentioned as a major benefactor the Georgian aristocrat Liparites. From 1065 to 1077–1078 superior of the monastery was the Georgian nobleman George Oltisari, who was appointed to this position with an imperial decree of Constantine X. He greatly contributed to the fortification of the monastery extending and strengthening its walls. From 1085 to about 1104 Iviron was governed by the Georgian aristocrat John Vukaisdze. In 1090 an eminent Georgian aristocrat, the kouropalates Symbatios Pakourianos, declared in his testament that he desired to be buried in the monastery of Iviron. It is, therefore, clear that it was the Georgian aristocrats originating from the Georgian principality of Tao-Klarjeti who created on Mount Athos a monastic house for their compatriots.

  • Issue Year: 8/2017
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 55-62
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: English