The cell of Axion Estin dates from the first half of the tenth century and is therefore one of the oldest and most important cells on Mount Athos. It is where the Archangel Gabriel appeared in the year 982 and first chanted the hymn ‘Axion Estin’ which now forms part of almost every Orthodox church service. The words of the Axion Estin Hymn, as translated by Father Ephrem Lash, are
‘It is truly right to call you blessed, who gave birth to God, ever-blessed and most pure and Mother of our God. Greater in honour than the Cherubim and beyond compare more glorious than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word; truly the Mother of God, we magnify you.’
After being abandoned for many years and falling into disrepair, the cell has a new brotherhood of Greek fathers who are determined to restore it to its former splendour.
The first phase of work (completed in 2020) involved the reconstruction of the Workers’ House which the fathers now live in while the main building of the cell is being restored. We are proud that you, our members, played such a significant part in making this possible.
The fathers are fully conscious of the responsibility they bear and do so with the blessing of the abbot of the monastery of Pantokrator, of which the cell is a dependency. 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.’
Unlike the monasteries, cells on Athos are not eligible to apply for assistance from the state or the EU, and the fathers are reliant on their own fundraising efforts.
The Executive Committee believes that the restoration of the Axion Estin cell continues to be a project that the Friends of Mount Athos should continue to wholeheartedly support. To this end, we are setting a new Phase II fundraising target of €100,000 and will commence a programme of supporting activities with immediate effect.
Progress through the years
The photos below shows the heartening progress on the Workers House where the Brothers will live while restoration of the main cell takes place. Please help us to continue this work.
Phase II will focus on constructing a new building to contain a kitchen, refectory and pilgrim accommodation – detailed architectural and engineering plans have been completed and approval has been received from the Centre for the Preservation of Mount Athos Heritage (KEDAK).
Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2025 (subject to sufficient funds being raised) and the total cost will be in the region of €600,000. Naturally, the new building will be built to exacting standards ensuring that it benefits from low maintenance needs and is fit for purpose well into the next century. It will be powered by solar power (installation in place) and hydro-electricity (planned).
We thank you for your enormous contribution so far and we ask you to consider participating in our future fundraising activities. We have also made it simpler for you to make an immediate donation by pressing the button below or by adding any amount to your shopping basket. All of your money will go directly to Axion Estin.