The Athonite or Athonias Ecclesiastical Academy
The Athonite Academy was founded in 1749, by Patriarch Cyril E., and was originally housed in a building of Vatopedi Monastery. The School was founded to spread the Greek culture. One of the first directors of the Academy was the enlightener cleric, Eugene Voulgaris. Some of the first directors of the Academy were, Meletios of Vatopedi, Nikolaos Zerzoulis, Neophytos Kafsokalyvitis, Nicodemus of Mount Athos, as well as the subsequent Patriarch of Alexandria, Cyprianus. Students were taught theology, philosophy and logic. The Academy soon acquired great reputation and attracted a large number of students, including prominent men of the clergy, literature and the arts, such as Kosmas of Aetolia, Josephus Moisiodax, Christopher Makraios, Christodoulos Pamplekis, Gabriel Kalonas, Athanasios Parios and Rigas Fereos.
Since 1930 it is housed in Vatopaidini Cloister of St. Andrew, at an altitude of 400 meters, in the green surroundings of Mount Athos. It operates today under the umbrella of the Holy Community, with only one interruption, because of the Greek-Italian war, between 1940 and 1953. In recent years, the School provides high school education.
The students are interns (feeding and accommodation are provided free by the school) and live coenobitic. All necessary facilities for living, such as washing machines, dryers, sports, board games, books at the library, computer room with modern computers and more, are available to students. They are taught what students of public schools are taught, plus Byzantine Music, Iconography, Liturgy, monastic history, Interpretation of the Bible, Evangelical and Patristic Texts, Ethics, and more.
Many of the School’s students have occupied high positions in the Church and society.
Today, among the graduates of the Athonite Ecclesiastical Academy stand out the famous painters, Konstantinos Xenopoulos, Georgios Sidiropoulos and father Pefkis.