Venerable Neophytus the Co-Founder of the Dochiariou Monastery of Mt Athos

Saints Neophytus and his uncle Euthymius belonged to the highest Byzantine aristocracy. Saint Euthymius was the friend of Saint Athanasius of Mt Athos (July 5), and he later became a novice and disciple of the great ascetic.

Saint Neophytus, in the world, was a companion of the emperor Nicephorus Phocas (963-969). Upon the death of his parents he came to Mt Athos, where he was tonsured in the monastery of his uncle Saint Euthymius. Before his death, Saint Euthymius entrusted his nephew with the administration of the monastery.

Under the spiritual guidance of Saint Neophytus, the small monastery grew into a Lavra. Asking the emperor Nicephorus to become a benefactor of the monastery, Saint Neophytus enlarged the monastery to its present size. Saint Neophytus was deigned to be chosen “protos” (head of the governing Council of Elders of the Holy Mountain) and for many years he labored there. After taking leave of the Council in his declining years, he returned to the Dochiariou monastery, where peacefully he fell asleep in the Lord.