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Esphigmenou monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery in the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, dedicated to the Ascension of Christ. It is built next to the sea at the northern part of the Athonite peninsula. Located near the Hilandar monastery, it is the northernmost of all Athonite monasteries. The current monastery dates back to the 10th century, while tradition holds that the site had been used as a monastery since as early as the 5th century. Esphigmenou ranks eighteenth in the hierarchy of the Athonite monasteries and since the early 1970s has been under persecution. This is the largest monastery on Mt. Athos, with around 100 monks.
The monastery's name translates to Greek literally as tightened. There exist conflicting traditions regarding the naming of the monastery. One attributes the name to the fact that the monastery is built on a stretch of land, tightened by three surrounding hills and the sea. Another tradition attributes the name to the monk that either founded or renovated the monastery. It recounts that he used to wear a tight rope around his waist, therefore the monastery got the name "of the tightened".

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Additional Photos by Aleksandar Dekanski (dekanski) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 176 W: 91 N: 264] (2630)
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