Monastery of Vlatadon


Christian monument
14th century

In the northeastern part of Ano Polis of Thessaloniki on Eptapyrgiou Street, in rocky and steep terrain, there is built the monastery of Vlatadon the only one of the numerous Byzantine monasteries of the city that has survived until today, still even in use. The foundation of the monastery - which is stavropegic, that means it belongs to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople -is placed immediately after the mid-14th century. The owners were the brothers Mark and Dorotheos Vlatis, monks with great education and deep Christian faith, students and friends of St. Gregory Palamas. The monastery was dedicated to Christ Pantocrator and today it celebrates at the feast of Metamorphosis (6 August).During the Ottoman occupation, it came for a short time to the Turks and was converted into a muslim mosque, but relatively quickly its original use was restored. In 1446, with a firman of the Sultan, the monastery received special privileges, while inside and outside of Thessaloniki it acquired over time dependencies (Panagia Lagoudiani, Agios Nikolaos the Orfanos, Agios Athanasios), which certifies its financial well-being and its great strength.
The catholic of Vlatadon monastery, the only building that remained from the monastery complex of the 14th century, is a cruciform church with octagonal brick dome in the center and a closed arcade in western, southern and northern side,which in the east ends in two chapels. It should be noted that the north chapel, the north and western part of the arcade, as well as a small part of the south arcade, are later structures, probably of 1801. Moreover, in 1907 there was added an open arcade on the south side and a small porch on the west side. Inside the church, there are murals dating from between 1360 and 1380. It is a serene painting with slender figures characterized by restrained passion and elegant movements. In the vestry of the monastery there are kept many and remarkable icons dating from the 12th to the 19th century, holy relics, precious remains and a large collection of manuscripts and documents, including imperial golden bulls, patriarchal sigils and Turkish firmans. The monastery’s catholic is surrounded by newer buildings, such as the Hgoumeneio, which was built in 1926, the chapel of Koimiseos tis Theotokou, built in 1937 and the premises of the Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies, founded in 1968.