Appeals / 07/03/2019


Please help us to restore the holy cell of Axion Estin

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 will aim to reconstruct the Workers’ House which the fathers can then live in while the main building of the cell is being restored.

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.’

Geronda Axion Estin

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 is a project that the Friends of Mount Athos should wholeheartedly support. Furthermore it is a project on a scale that could be significantly helped by the level of support that we might be able to raise. We have therefore set a target of €100,000 as an achievable goal, which we hope can be raised in this first phase. The total sum raised so far (June 2019) is €66,000 (£59,126).

Sep 2019 – Progress

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.

Workers House Axion Estin as of Dec 2019

APRIL 2020

Progress on the Workers House continues. The beautiful stone stairway leading to the balcony has been completed.

Axion Estin: Workers House April 2020