The International Fund to Restore and Preserve the Cultural and Spiritual Heritage of the Monastery of St Panteleimon was established in 2011 at the initiative of President Dmitry Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
Excerpts from Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks:
This year we will mark 1,000 years of Russia’s
presence on Mount Athos. This event is not only important for the Russian
Orthodox Church or even Orthodox believers, but also for the country as a
whole. The Athos thinkers influenced the development of our culture and
traditions. The Monastery of St Panteleimon, which has been the centre of
Russian Orthodoxy on Mount Athos, played a special role in this.
We have prepared a large programme for these celebrations. Its core element is the continuation of works to renovate the monastery. Its goal is to preserve this architectural complex and the overall cultural heritage of the monastery and to create conditions for its ongoing work and future development.
We have done a great deal towards this end. In general, the renovation of the monastery is proceeding according to schedule despite economic challenges. Since the establishment in 2011of the Public Board of Trustees of the Athos Monastery of St Panteleimon, which includes sponsors and representatives of the business community, we have consolidated considerable financial and organisational resources.
We must now carry on this work in order to complete this project in time for the celebrations.
In addition to renovating the monastery’s buildings, we have completed a large-scale educational and printing programme, for distribution both in Russia and outside it. Our current priority is to ensure the preservation of cultural values, including archives and libraries, in accordance with modern requirements. We have taken a big step towards this goal by turning scattered documents into a complete archive of the monastery and creating conditions for preserving these documents in digital formats.
In the past few years we have seen many positive examples of the consolidated efforts of the state and the church to restore Orthodox churches in Russia and other countries. There were very large projects, such as the New Jerusalem Resurrection Monastery and the Naval Cathedral of St Nicholas in Kronstadt, and also relatively small projects. The Monastery of St Panteleimon is different in that it is located outside Russia. I hope we will be able to carry on with this work together and will do our utmost to implement our plans.
From Patriarch Kirill’s opening remarks:
The church and the state have been preparing for this signal event for a long time. The main celebrations are scheduled to take place on Mount Athos in May of this year.
Work is underway to restore three main facilities on Mount Athos ahead of the celebrations, which will be held in the cross-cultural year between Russia and Greece. These are Xylourgou, or the Holy Dormition Skete, the first site where Russian monks settled on Mount Athos, the Stary Rusik Skete and several buildings of the Monastery of St Panteleimon.
In February 2012, seeking to more effectively deal with organisational and financial matters related to preparations for the upcoming celebrations, the Public Board of Trustees of the Athos Monastery of St Panteleimon adopted a decision to create an International Fund to Restore and Preserve the Cultural and Spiritual Heritage of the Monastery of St Panteleimon.The fund is directly responsible for the renovation of three objects – the monastery’s archondaric room (guest quarters), Stary Rusik and the Chapel of St Demetrios. A large part of the renovation process is over, but due to a number of reasons the project is still not finished.
It is very important that the Monastery of St Panteleimon continues to receive the necessary assistance after the celebrations, because we won’t be able to complete the project before celebrations begin. Besides, we will need additional funds to cover the upkeep of the renovated facilities and expensive equipment. Therefore, I believe that the International Fund to Restore and Preserve the Cultural and Spiritual Heritage of the Monastery of St Panteleimon should continue its efforts to support the Russian monastery on the Holy Mount Athos.