The Holy Patriarchal and Crusader Monastery of Simonos Petra, (also known as Simonopetra), is one of the twenty monasteries of Mount Athos and ranks thirteenth in the hierarchy of Athonian monasteries.
It is located at an altitude of 300 meters above the sea level and was built on a granite rock. The monastery is one of the greatest buildings of Byzantine engineering, as it is a seven-story tower building. The Katholicon of the monastery is dedicated to the Nativity of Christ. Head of the monastery is the archimandrite Elissaios Simonopetritis.
The majority of the monks of Simonos Petra Monastery were, for 150 years, from Asia Minor. The first head of the monastery, who was from Asia Minor, was Seraphim from Alacati, Asia Minor (1796-1863). The ones following in succession to the abbotship were Neophytos (1907) and later Ioannikios (1919), both coming from Alatsata, Asia Minors. During the years 1920-1931, Saint Hieronymos Simonopetritis from Asia Minor was the abbot of the Monastery. The next abbot was Caesarios until 1940, who was transferred from the Dionysiou Monastery and was from Vourla, Asia Minor. He was succeeded by Vourliotis Charalambis, who died in 1973. From then until 2000, Emilianos from Asia Minor, a great theologian and writer, served as abbot.
On the first floor of the eastern wing of the monastery, there is the chapel of Saint Mary Magdalene, whose left hand has been miraculously preserved intact and at body temperature for many centuries. In November 1888, the headof the monastery Archimandrite Neophytos Molakas, accompanied by the Hieromonk Dionysios and his later successor in the abbotship Hierodeacon Ioannikios, traveled to Russia to get help for the Monastery. They took with them a silver box, which contained the Holy Cross, the left hand of St. Mary Magdalene, a part of St. Anna Mother of Virgin Mary and a part of St. Panteleimon the Great Martyr. On May 28 1891, they arrived in Rostov. They were planning on leaving Odessa and return to Mount Athos on the same day. However, they received a telegram from the fathers of Simonopetra, who informed them that the whole monastery was burnt by fire. After an absence of four years, they returned to the Monastery on 29 November 1892. (20-21.11.1888 to 29.11.1892).
On the second floor is the chapel of Saint Haralambos. In the middle wing, under the high altar, is the chapel of Saint George. The cemetery chapel of the Simonos Petra monastery is located southeast, outside its walls and is commemorated in the Dormition of the Virgin. Another chapel of Saint John the Forerunner is located in the newer fourth wing, which, following the approval of the Center for the Preservation of Athonite Heritage, started being built in 1996 and was completed in 2000.
The Monastery has a library with valuable historical books, a sacristy, collections of antivola (preliminary drawings) and engravings from its Athonite gallery. In fact, the monastery has published books a couple of times. The books were edited by the monks in the monastery.