1835 – reservation by email: modern times on Athos?

I think there is no pilgrim who had no difficulties to make a swift and easy reservation to spend a night in monastery. The reason? They still use the oldfashioned fax. Eather you do not get connexion, or it might be that the fax machine is out of order or monks just don’t answer your fax message.

This is why it is hopefull to see that more and more monasteries and skites throw the fax machine finally out and start to communicate by email. I have been collecting email adresses in the past time and with the help of our reader Aljaž I have collected these adresses:


Panteleimonos: rpm.palomnik@gmail.com

Zografou: zografergo@gmail.com

Iviron: imiviron@gmail.com

Xeropotamou: xeropotamou@yahoo.gr

Chilandariou: pilgrims@hilandar.org

Simonopetras: hospitality@simonopetra.gr

Vatopedi: filoxenia@vatopedi.gr


Nea Skiti: eugeniosathos@gmail.com

The big question is, is this list complete? Who can help us to add more email adresses, to provide our readers with the most up-to-date information ? Please help us and sent a commend or email.

I did not have any suitable pictures for this post, that’s why I will share the recent pictures of something totally different: on the Dutch Athos Facebook site of Vasilis I found the rare pictures of monk Eusebios Christofi from Nea Skiti, who has been digging up the bones of Father Dimitrios last Monday, who died three years ago.Father Dimitrios excavated by Eusebios Christofi july 2016 1Father Dimitrios with his hat (and his artificial hip)Father Dimitrios excavated by Eusebios Christofi Ne Skiti July 2016 2Father Dimitrios’bones spread out on a kitchen table

Wim, 26/7 (I will be on a summer holiday till 21/8)

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1834 – Athos film from Dutch pilgrims april 2016

film Peter Ariese april 2016My fellow Athos pilgrim Peter Ariese, who visited Athos in 2011 for the first time together with our group, came back to the Holy Mountain April this year, this time joined by his brother and Albert Hollander, who made this video.The group agreed on sharing this video with the visitors of this weblog. It is compilation of pictures and film, dubbed by friendly Greek and religious music from Vatopedi. The Athos pilgrimage starts at 2.40”. Their visit started with one day delay, because the boats didn’t sail from Ouranopolis, due to stormy weather.


Wim, 20/7

Posted in 02 Vatopedi, 03 Iviron, 09 Sografou, 20 Konstamonitou, films, Karyes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

1833 – around Skiti Andreou: the garden

Andreou Serail aerail begin 1900Old picture of skiti Andreou 

On our first day of our 2015 Athos pilgrimage, 20th of September, we slept in Skiti Andreou, the former Russian convent, now inhabited by Greek monks. I remember walking past this large settlement for the first time in 1980: it was almost totally empty and deserted, no people, no sounds, a sence of decay and empytness, it gave me a creepy feeling. I did not dare to go in and have a look, a thing I really regret after so many years…..

But things changed in the meanwhile: nowadays the place is florishing and it is busy with people who live, work and pray there and with pilgrims who pay a visit. Buildings and churches are renovated and work is still in progress, although part of the buildings remains in ruin.

I decided to walk around the old buildings to see how it looked like from the outside. At first I ended up in the gardens.

I drew a plan of the buildings still in place. The plan is not professional, but usefull for this post.Andreou plan nr 1The plan of of Skiti Andreou or Serail. The entrance is at A, where our walk starts. Building B is the Athos school Athonias, E is the large church form 1900, J the smaller church that is renovated right now and G is the guesthouse. All these buildings will be shown to you in later posts (due to family circumstances I was not able publish frequently in the past weeks).

Let’s start with a picture of the entrance (A).DSCN6950 entrance (Large)The top of the roofs of the chapels and the church are recently being guilded. DSCN6950 Above the entrance: the Saint Andreou and the “All seeing Eye”.

DSCN6951 soccercourt (Large)Right from the entrance: the soccer/basketball court of the Athonias school – B (also see 1232).DSCN6980 Athonasias (Large)The Athonias schoolDSCN6974 garden 19 cells (Large)If you walk in the other direction from the gate (to the North) you will have to open a fence and soon after you will see these buildings on your right hand.DSCN6956 garden 1 (Large)A little bit futher: vines and a glasshouse in the garden of Andreou.

And then something special shows up, that I never seen before in any publication:DSCN6973 garden 18 well phiale (Large)Going down in the garden, a small phiale is hidden between the trees (C on the map)!DSCN6957 garden 2 phiale (Large)The small phiale under the trees.DSCN6959 garden 4 phiale 2 (Large)The phiale with decorative marble carvings and eight pillars, build in 1902. And when you turn around you will see this:DSCN6958 garden 3 well (Large)A well with fresh water running from the tap.DSCN6961 garden 6 miniature (Large)A miniature chapel with the well behind it.DSCN6960 garden 5 buildings (Large)DSCN6963 garden 8 ruins 2 (Large)Looking up from the well/phiale: the garden with the ruined part of Andreou and the top of the church.DSCN6962 garden 7 ruins (Large)A picture in the North direction: ruins and builiding D on the map.DSCN6972 garden17 ruins 3 (Large)Detail of a ruined house seen from the gardenDSCN6971 garden 16 house 4 (Large)Seen through the bushes: the top of a roof with a fine guilded cross.DSCN6968 garden 13 shed 2 (Large)A well kept house in the lower parts of the garden.DSCN6965 garden 10 cross (Large)View from the garden to a nearby kellion with fine blue roof.DSCN6969 garden 14 house 3 (Large)In detail.DSCN6966 garden 11 house 1 (Large)DSCN6967 garden 12 house 2 (Large)Two other kellions seen from the garden.DSCN6964 garden 9 garden shed (Large)Left from the wooden white cross three pictures above: a small shed in the garden, see the red O below.Andreou 1 pictures gardenkopieHere you can see where I took pictures in the garden. P is the philae, O the shed above. The following five pictures below are from the left side of the garden (see X).DSCN6977 garden 21 small church 1 (Large)Garden chapel at point X.DSCN6978 garden 22 small church 2 (Large)The chapel is dedicated to Agios Filaretos o Eleimon.DSCN6979 garden 23 church and waterhouse (Large)Next to the chapel lies a large water reservoir, under the sink roof (also spot X).DSCN6975 garden 20 pond (Large)The last photo of this post is taken on my way back to the main entrance at spot W: another water reservoir, carefully protected by a fence and nets.

Wim, 17/7

Posted in ruins, Skiti Andreou, trip 2015 | Tagged | 3 Comments

1832 – Shopping in Karyes

The only town on Athos, Karyes, has changed a lot and became more commercial in recent years. Not so very long ago there was only a bar (with food and a possibility to sleep. A zero-star hotel I was told where you shared your bed with tiny insects) and a place where you could buy religious souvenirs.
Now there is even a good coffee shop with excellent Italian coffees (also: to take away, for the rushed pilgrim). Several shops for religious goodies. A kind of supermarket, a hardware store and even a men’s clothing shop. I wonder what will be next: a barbershop, a men’s health centre or a night club?4453 Karyes barThe bar and restaurant offers shelter for the tired pilgrims. The young beardless boy, with his blue jacket supporting Russia, isn’t an exception anymore. The fresco of the main street of Karyes (meaning: hazel nuts) has an agreeable naiveté. It always reminds me of the work of Giorgio di Chirico.
To the left hangs a picture on the wall of mount Athos’ summit during sunrise with pilgrims. A long standing wish, I hope it will come true once in my lifetime to witness the sunrise on that very spot.
We like to drink a cool Mythos from the bottle there. But not this time so early in the morning. We had a good filling breakfast there.4486 karyes squareCats and men waiting for things to come on a square of Karyes. The cats in anticipation of food and the men waiting for the bus to take them to the port, to Dafni. Karyes is the administrative centre, the parliamentary centre and the capital of the Holy Mountain.
The shop most to the right is a supermarket, next a religious shop, then the Italian coffee shop, another religious outlet and to the left a hardware store.4490 Jacques Poell Karyes Athos greece
Here pilgrim Jacques proudly shows his brand new pair of trousers. Since we arrived in Sografou he had an opening in his trousers in a place where you don’t want an abyss, as described in post 1762. Co-pilgrim Herman is taking pictures in the background.4491 karyes
A closer look at the front of the supermarket that sells chilled beers and fresh orange juice.4492 Karyes shop breadThe religious shops offers a wide variety of icons, walking sticks, incense and other religious objects to take home.4493 Karyes shop
The valuable silver objects are carefully protected by layers of plastic.4495 Karyes Athos
A monk with a plastic shopping bag walks away with his new buys from the city businesses into contemplation.Karyes bus to DafniWhen the bus finally arrives everybody rushes and hurries towards the front door. It is not exactly a proper English queue but everyone enters undamaged. We’re on our way to Dafni!
Text and pictures
Bas Kamps

(the ‘zero-star’ rating of the hotel is based on our own experiences in 1986 and 1997, it does not say anything about the present quality. Nowadays the place is run by Nikos and his cook Spiros (a Greek Albanian): according to our reader Hans Overduin he has good memories of staying in the hotel, so quality must have improved. The name of the hotel/restaurant is To Athonikon, tel 0377 23362 – Wim Voogd, 5/7)

Posted in Karyes, trip 2015 | Tagged | 2 Comments

1831 – The Iviron Chapel at the Iberian Gate on the Red Square

0066 ivironIn a chapel close to the main entrance of the monastery of Iviron, behind red decorated doors the famous icon Panagia Portaitissa can be venerated. A friendly monk who was on guard kindly gave me a postcard of the icon. iviron ikoon
“Holy wonder-working icon of Panagia Portaitissa”, I read at the back of the postcard. Our Lady of the Gate. It had travelled to Athos on its own from Nicaea, the ancient city that the Turks call Iznik today, to escape the iconoclast ruler Theophilos. And later it was put in the katholikon but three times it moved itself outside the church over the gate. There is still a special entrance for the icon. For who knows it might want to escape again sometime. A monk had a vision in which the Virgin appeared and told him to build a special chapel for the icon. And so it happened. One of the miracles is the scar on Maria’s face, that bled.
Norwich writes that mentioning the fact that the icon is almost certain from the fourteenth century, and that Iviron was not yet build in iconoclastic times is not only a matter of bad manners, but even worse: it is to miss the point. We wouldn’t like to miss the point or misbehave.
The intimate relation between Russia and Athos, between worldly and spiritual powers, was illustrated by the recent visit of President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to the monastic Republic. He came to celebrate a thousand years of Russian presence. So there are many stories to be told between the two. One is about the Panagia Portaitissa.
Red square gate
In the seventeenth century an exact copy of the Panagia Portaitissa was made. It was placed in a chapel in the Kremlin wall in Moscow; the Iviron Chapel at the Iberian gate. It was centrally situated right on the main entrance to the Red Square and venerated by all who entered the square.
H.G. Wells wrote in his 1920 book Russia in the shadows: “The celebrated miraculous shrine of the Iberian Madonna outside the Redeemer Gate was particularly busy. There were many peasant women, unable to get into the little chapel, kissing the stones outside. Just opposite to it, on a plaster panel on a house front, is that now celebrated inscription put up by one of the early revolutionary administrations in Moscow: “Religion is the Opium of the People.” The effect this inscription produces is greatly reduced by the fact that in Russia the people cannot read.”iverski
The devotion irritated the Bolsheviks, they needed a broader approach for heavy military vehicles (parades!) anyway, so they destroyed the gate, the chapel and moved the icon in 1929. Instead they erected a statue of a worker.Sokolniki

The icon was moved to the Cathedral of the Resurrection in Sokolniki, also in Moscow.
But both the Iberian gate and the Iviron chapel were rebuild in 1996 and a new copied icon was flown in from Athos.
Bas Kamps

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1830 – Athos in French magazine L’Illustration 1920 (2)

In December 1920 the French magazine L’Illustration published two articles about mount Athos, in post 1829 I showed you the images from the Noel-Christmas publication from december 4th 1920.

Today I will present the pictures and watercolors from the magazine of December 25th 1920. The originals of the watercolors are kept in the museum Centre Pompidou in Paris. If you go to the museum site and type ‘Athos’ in the search bar you find them (in a better quality then the prints I show you!) image1

The article starts with the chapter “Les arts a l’Athos” and some black and white pictures of religious objects of poor quality, of which I wil show you two:

The cross of Nicophoros Phocas, the Byzantine emperor

DSCN0049Martel – watercolor (11 x 16): the courtyard and gantries in Great LavraDSCN0050Martel – watercolor (15 x 21): the trapeza of Great Lavra, with its stone tablesDSCN0051.JPGMartel – watercolor (29 x 21): Lavra, the cypress of Athanasius

Three black and white pictures: Chilandariou, a painting of the Annonciation, the apron of the Holy Virgin from Vatopedi and monks sounding a bell in DocheiariouDSCN0068Paul Jouve – watercolor (31 x 50), the centerfold: Iviron in the light of the moonDSCN0060.JPGDetail of the last image, left corner: Mont Athos, Monastere d’Iviron, Julliet 1917DSCN0055Black and white picture: Easter service at VatopediDSCN0056.JPGBlack and white picture: the Proto-Epistasis Anthymas and his gards (Seimonides)DSCN0057Black and white picture: the monks of DocheiariouDSCN0058Black and white picture: Iviron – monks form neighbourng cells assist during the Easter ceremonyDSCN0062Martel – watercolor (15 x 11): the entrance to VatopediDSCN0063Martel – watercolor (9 x 13): the graveyard and tower of StavronikitaDSCN0067Martel – watercolor (7,5 x 11): Lavra, the guesthouse/archontarikiDSCN0064Martel – watercolor (11 x 16): Vatopedi, the courtyard and phialeDSCN0065Martel – watercolor (17,5 x 14): Karakalou, the katholicon

Wim Voogd, 16/6

Posted in 01 Lavra, 02 Vatopedi, 04 Chilandariou, 10 Docheiariou, 11 Karakalou, 15 Stavronikita, art, books | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

1829 – Athos in French magazine L’Illustration 1920 (1)


In December 1920 two  articles about Athos were published in the French magazine L’Illustration, one in the (extra thick) Christmis edition of December 4th and the second on December 25th 1920. Both articles describe the pilgrimage of the author Georges Rémond, together with the artists Charles Martel and Paul Jouve, in August 1917 – during the Great War. Not long after their visit the French General Sarrail and Admiral des Vignaux visited Mount Athos in 1918, together with the photographer Millet, who took these pictures.

In the first article of December 4th 1920, called “La très sainte montagne de l’Athos”, Martel and Jouve published their fine watercolors (aquarelles), photographs and drawings, that I would like to share with you (recently I got the opportunity to buy both magazines).DSCN0153Martel – watercolor (14 x 21): arsanas Iviron: the tower and “fishermen monks”DSCN0155Martel – watercolor (11 x 16): Mount Athos seen from Stravronikita

The maps used in the articleDSCN0161Jouve – drawing (19 x 12,5): a monk from Chilandariou hits the semantron 1917DSCN0163Martel – watercolor (12 x 8): a small church on the Iviron territoryDSCN0165(14 x 9,5)DSCN0175Martel (21 x 16) – two watercolors of SimonopetrasDSCN0171Jouve – (32,5 x 46) watercolor of Simonopetras, used as a centerfold in the magazineDSCN0137Martel – watercolor (11 x 9): the door to the Protaton church in KaryesDSCN0169Martel – watercolor (30 x 21): a street in Karyes. This is without doubt the most striking and colorfull ‘aquarelle’, a real piece of art.DSCN0177Martel – watercolor (13,5 x 18): arsanas of the Great LavraDSCN0179Martel – watercolor (10,5 x 16): Great Lavra, view from the loggia where the monks liveDSCN0181Picture: the monks of Stavronikita (10 x 14)DSCN0183Martel – watercolor (17 x 13): the trapeza of DionysiouDSCN0186Martel – watercolor (11 x 8): the road leading to DionysiouDSCN0128Martel – watercolor (8 x 9) – DocheiariouDSCN0188.JPGMartel – watercolor (6 x 9) Iviron: the seaside facade

Wim Voogd, 14/6, next time I will show the 2nd magazine of Dec 1920.

Posted in 01 Lavra, 03 Iviron, 05 Dionysiou, 13 Simonos Petras, 15 Stavronikita, arsanas, art, books | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment