As Stefan Nemanja (monk Simeon) joined his son Sava on Mount Athos, they started renovation works on the neglected Hilandar Monastery, with substantial contribution in money donated by Stefan The First-Crowned. Soon Hilandar was the first Serbian monastery, a Serbian “representative office” in the Mount Athos monastic community. Renovation works ended in 1198, and the monastery, just like Studenica, was dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin. St Simeon remained in Hilandar until his death in 1200. Then, St Sava also retreated to the Karyes cell (the Mount Athos headquarters), where he wrote the Hilandar Typikon. Because of his brothers’ quarrel in Serbia, in 1208 he moved his father’s remains to Studenica.
Hilandar keeps some of the most valuable icons of the Orthodox world – the icon of the Theotokos “Of the Three Hands,”, which St Sava brought from the Holy Land, a mosaic of the Virgin Hodegetria from the 12th century, the icon of the Christ Pantocrator (Ruler of all) from the first half of the 14th century and many others.
Mount Athos or the Holy Mountain is a specific Monastic State situated on the third “finger” of the Greek peninsula of Chalkidiki. There are about two dozen of monasteries on Mount Athos, populated with Greek monks, but also with those from Russia, Rumania, Bulgaria, Georgia and all other Orthodox lands.
Throughout history, Hilandar was magnanimously supported by all the Serbian rulers, noblemen and the whole Orthodox world. In the 13th century, King Milutin built a new church of the Assumption, and Prince Lazar was the ktetor of its exonarthex. Like all other Mount Athos monasteries, Hilandar was built as a fortified monastery – with tall walls and defensive towers (pyrgos). The place saw numerous pirate attacks. In the Turkish times, Hilandar was looted and endangered, and was reduced to poverty; in later centuries Serbs even lost it several times.
St Simeon the Myrrh-Streamer, St Sava, Holy King Milutin, Abbot of Hilandar, St Danilo II. Serbian Archbishop, Holy Prince Lazar