Monastery of Saint Archangel Michael and the Holy Nail
The presence, miracles, and the importance of the monastery of St. Archangel Michael on Thasos are connected with the history of the holy nail which was in Christ’s right hand. In fourth century, mother of Constantine the Great decided to build churches in all of the places that were important in Christ’s life. During the digging for the temple of St. Resurrection, that is, the grave of Christ, Christ’s Honorable Cross was found and taken to Constantinople.
One of the Byzantine emperors reconstructed the monastery of Filotei on Holy Mount and gifted it with many presents, among which was the holy nail.
When the Turks conquered Greece, the set high taxes for the monasteries so the monks of the Filotei monastery decided to send a couple of their monks with their holiest of items, among which the holy nail, to other Orthodox countries, Russia, Serbia, Romania, so that they would send them help. The monks got caught in a storm, so they were forced to disembark on Thasos, on the place where the chapel of St. Archangel stood. Soon afterwards, the pirates arrived at the same place and killed and robbed the monks, but before that, one of the monks had managed to hide the holy items between rocks, in the wall of the old chapel. Not long afterwards, a man called Jovan got cured from a severe illness at the spring of the monastery of St. Archangel, and decided to show his gratitude by reconstructing the church. The builders found a silver coffin with the holly items and the wooden cross with the nail. When the news of holy items being found reached Filotei, they ordered they were returned to the monastery of Filotei, which is what happened. However, St. Archangel Michael wanted the holy nail to stay on Thasos, so he appeared in dreams of the monks of the monastery of Filotei, ordering them to return the nail to Thasos. Since the monks disobeyed his wishes, they noticed one day that the nail was gone and that St. Archangel saw to it himself that the nail was where it belonged, at the monastery of St. Archangel. To this day, the day of the return of the holy nail is celebrated on Thasos and Teologos, a week after Easter.
Up until 1974, there was a small church with a holy spring that the monks accommodated in Teologos cared after, at the place where the monastery of St. Archangel Michael is now. In the above mentioned year, a small congregation of vestals came to Thasos and started a women’s monastery of St. Archangel and built accommodation where around a thousand of pilgrims sleep over each year.
Over the last couple of years, another grand church is being built as well as more monastery rooms. The holy nail is still being kept at the monastery and you can see it at the entrance, on the right.