Mount Athos The monastery was founded during the 13th century by Simon the Athonite, who was later sanctified by the Eastern Orthodox Church as Osios Simon the Myrrohovletes. Tradition holds that Simon, while dwelling in a nearby cave saw a dream in which the Theotokos instructed him to build a monastery on top of the rock, promising him that she would protect and provide for him and the monastery. The original monastery was called by Simon "New Bethlehem" (Greek: Νέα Βηθλεέμ) and is to this day dedicated to the Nativity of Jesus.
In 1364, the Serbian despot Jovan Ugljesa funded the renovation and expansion of the monastery. In 1581, Simonopetra was destroyed by a fire, in which a large portion of the monks died. Evgenios, the monastery's abbot, travelled to the Danubian Principalities hoping to raise funds to rebuild the monastery. The most important donor was Michael the Brave, Prince of Wallachia, who donated large portions of land as well as money to the monastery. In later years the monastery was also burnt in 1626 and the last great fire happened in 1891, after which the monastery was rebuilt to its current form.