The School’s library, which is considered to be one of the richest in the world in old and rare works, dates to the Byzantine era, from the foundation of the monastery itself, which, according to Theodore the Studite, was a “center for wisdom and education”.
The library was re-established by Patriarch Metrophanes, as part for the monastery’s reconstruction and reconstitution in the 16th century. Patriarch Metrophanes also donated 300 rare manuscripts and created the library’s first catalog in 1572.
Several years after the School’s establishment, Patriarch Germanos personally funded the construction of a two-story stone building for the library. The building was finished in 1853, and remained in service only until the destructive earthquake of 1894. No provision was made for a dedicated library building in the new complex, but from 1896 to 1927 the books were placed in the southwestern wing of the building. After 1927, the Library was relocated to its current location in the School’s basement, in the northern part of the building.
With the passage of time, donations greatly enriched the library’s initial collection. The main donor has always been the Ecumenical Patriarchate to which the library belongs, as a second library-subsidiary to that of the Patriarchate’s main library in the Phanar. Many of the library’s important manuscripts, including those donated by Patriarch Metrophanes, are now kept in the manuscript wing of the Patriarchal Library.
Today the library contains over 40.000 books and around 1000 journals. With the help of collaborations with institutions such as the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Bavarian State Library in Munich, and the Library of the Greek Parliament, the enormous task of preparing the library for the reopening of the School has been divided into three main phases (cataloguing, digitization, and restoration of the books) and is well underway.