The Skete of Saint Andrew (Sarai)

The Skete of Saint Andrew, also the Skete of Apostle Andrew and Great Anthony in Karyes is a monastic institution on Mount Athos. It is a dependency of Vatopaidi Monastery and is the site of the Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy.

The Skete of Saint Andrew in Karyes of Mount Athos is also known as Serai (‘the Palace’) and stands where the old Monastery of Xistrou or Xystre once stood from the 10th until the 15th centuries. The history, however, of the region begins to take a more definite shape with the coming of the St. Athanasios Pattelaros.

Athanasios was born in the 16th century and in that turbulent period of Turkish rule he became Patriarch of Constantinople. His tenure, however, was brief, and in his retirement he came to Athos, and finding here a Monastic house dedicated to St. Anthony the Great, he refurbished and renovated it.

The spiritual bond of the region with Constantinople was further strengthened with the arrival here of another retired Patriarch, Serapheim II. Serapheim demolished the old building and built on its site a new structure, now dedicated not just to Saint Anthony, but also to the Apostle Andrew.

A century or so after Serapheim’s tenure, in 1841, the House was given be the ruling Monastery of Vatopaidion to two Monks from Russia and in 1849, another Patriarch, Anthimos VI, upgraded it to the status of “Skete”. During this period the community grew rapidly in numbers, and huge buildings were built to house the new brethren.

By the beginning of the twentieth century the Skete had grown to enormous proportions. Its heyday was, however, shortlived. The outbreak of the First World War, and the subsequent Russian revolution, brought swift and disastrous results.

After 20 years of desolation, in 1992 a new, Greek-speaking brotherhood brought new life to the Skete, and in 2001, the coming of several young Monks, with new Prior Archimandrite Ephraim, brought promise of a bright and hopeful future.