The Friends of Mount Athos


Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

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FoMA Appeals

The Axion Estin Cell Appeal
Patron: Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia

The Friends of Mount Athos are raising funds for the restoration of the the historic and revered Axion Estin Cell. Funds raised by the Friends of Mount Athos through this Appeal are contributed 100% to this much needed project.

More than a year has elapsed since we completed our appeal for funds for the restoration of the bell tower at Hilandar Monastery. We believe that now is an appropriate time to launch our new appeal for the urgently needed restoration of an important and historic cell on the Holy Mountain – the cell which carries the dedication “Axion Estin”.

Image of the Axion Estin Cell on Mount Athos
The Axion Estin Cell on Mount Athos in its present condition

This cell was the site on 11 June 982 of the renowned vision, experienced by a young novice, of the Archangel Gabriel. The Archangel visited him and revealed to him the words of the hymn that is a beloved part of most Divine Liturgies and many other services of the Church: “It is truly meet (in Greek axion estin) to bless thee”. The icon, before which that hymn was first chanted, was subsequently moved to the Protaton in Karyes, where today it enjoys the highest veneration and patronage, and is the most miraculous icon of all on Athos and the Protector of the Holy Mountain itself.

The cell lies close to Karyes, and is at the very centre of the Holy Mountain. It is close to cells which have been inhabited by some of the most famous elders and saints of Athos. St Nikodimos lived nearby, and is the source for the published accounts of the visit of the Archangel. He must have worshipped in the cell’s chapel along with many other notable ascetics.

Despite its venerable history, the cell is in urgent need of repair and its very survival is in question. Neglect during the last century due to disputes with zealots has taken its toll. A new community took up residence there in 2014 and have been attempting to make such temporary repairs as they can to prevent it from falling into ruin, but damage caused by age, neglect and landslides has made the buildings unstable and unsafe.

As the fathers have told us, only memories remain from the days when the cell flourished as a centre of the ascetic struggles of the many revered fathers who once lived there. The old winery is abandoned and in ruins. The mill is totally derelict. The bakery is crumbling away, the bell tower has collapsed, and many bricks have fallen.

Image of the collapsed bell tower of the Axion Estin Cell on Mount Athos
The Axion Estin Cell on Mount Athos, collapsed bell tower

Above all, the historic church of Axion Estin is deteriorating and showing signs of structural damage in the sanctuary, with cracks in many places on the walls.

Image of a cracked wall, its window patched with plastic sheeting
The Axion Estin Cell on Mount Athos, a cracked wall, its window patched with plastic sheeting

Image of the ceiling of the main building
The Axion Estin Cell on Mount Athos, Main Buildiung Ceiling

The fathers who have taken on the responsibility for restoring the cell and reviving it with a renewed ascetic life do so with the blessing of the abbot of the holy monastery of Pantokrator, to which monastery the cell belongs. He writes:

This energetic brotherhood, which receives no financial help, is worthy of all righteous and material assistance as well as support from all sources of sponsorship in order to undertake this enormous and difficult venture which lies under the grace of our All-Holy lady, the Mother of God. For this reason our holy monastery endorses them most warmly.

The first objective is for the fathers to raise funds sufficient to enable them to restore for use and habitation an old workers’ house, which will enable them to vacate the main building and supervise other restoration projects.

Your FoMA Executive Committee believes that the restoration of this historic and sacred cell is a project which the Friends of Mount Athos should wholeheartedly support. The project is not receiving state or EU assistance, and the fathers are reliant upon their own fundraising efforts. Conversely, the project is of a size that can be significantly helped by the level of support which we are able to raise. We therefore have set a target of €50,000 as being an achievable goal which we hope can be raised by us over the coming year.

Please support this appeal with donations and by participating in fund raising events which we will be hosting over the coming year.

How to Contribute:

Contributions to the Axion Estin Cell Appeal can be made by

  • personal check made out to the "FoMA Axion Estin Appeal" which can be mailed to your FoMA treasurer for the Americas or for the rest of the world, to FoMA's Hon. Membership Secretary in England, Peter Lea. For addresses, please visit our Contacts Page.
  • online credit or debit-card payment via PayPal Simply click the "Donate" button and enter the words, "FoMA Axion Estin Appeal" in the instruction PayPal window. Amounts are billed in the donor's currency; an exchange rate converter is available on online contribution page to help with your calculations.
  • direct deposit (funds transfer by wire) Donations by direct deposit may be sent to:
    The Friends of Mount Athos
    Lloyds Bank
    Sort code 30-96-64
    Account 01449342
    IBAN: LOYD3096640144934
    SWIFT: LOYDGB21085

If you have questions, please contact the Friends of Mount Athos,

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Header Image: View of the Holy Mountain from a balcony at Stavronikita Monastery, with elements of the katholikon in the foreground.
Photograph by Robert W. Allison, © 2008.