Introduction – The metochia in Greece, Asia Minor, Bulgaria and Serbia

29 October 2011

A basic precondition for the survival of the Athonite monasteries was the possession of dependencies (metochia*): these were farmland, woodland, grassland and, sometimes, sea and lakes which belonged to the ruling monastery but at times also had a degree of autonomy with respect to their internal administration.

To begin with, the metochia of Vatopaidi were confined to Macedonia, but with the passing of the centuries they were also to be found in very many other places, both in Greece and in very distant parts.

There is a wealth of information about all the metochia in the Monastery’s archive of documents. However, by far the greater part of this archive is unpublished. For a study of the subject we can rely only on the very scanty published documents, on the chapter about the metochia in the unpublished history of the Monastery written by Arkadios of Vatopaidi around 1930, on the summaries of the documents contained in the handwritten catalogue of the archive of the Monastery, and on the individual files of the metochia themselves. Needless to say, the present brief outline should not be considered as an exhaustive account. We should also bear in mind that because of the organisation of this volume, emphasis will only be given to the most important of the metochia of the Monastery in the Balkans and in Asia Minor which remained in the ownership of Vatopaidi until the 19th and even the 20th centuries1 .


1. A brief catalogue of the metochia of the Monastery was published by Smyrnakis, 1903, p. 445, and by Theophilos, 1972, pp. 93-98.