2078 – film: the hike from Panaghia refuge to the top of Mount Athos 2019

Together with pilgrims Richard Snellen and Gert Jan Wiekart, 30th of September, 1st of October 2019

Wim Voogd, 6/10

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2077 – Athos pilgrimage 2019: silhouettes and bells

The bells of the Metamorphosis chapel on the top of Mount Athos – 2033 meters
Two photos of the bell of the Panaghia refuge at 1500 meters (at daylight and sunset)
The grotesque gargoyle in the shape of a dragon at Xeropotamou monastery
On the top of Mount Athos, 7 AM October 1st 2019

Wim, 5/10

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2076 – Athos pilgrimage 2019: coloured glass

Xeropotamou: the phiale
Xeropotamou: the Katholicon
Grigoriou: stained glass and paintings inside the phiale
Agiou Pavlou monastery
Agiou Pavlou monastery

Wim, 5/10

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2075 – the top of Mount Athos, 1st of October

Tuesday morning October 1st we started at 5.00 pm our hike to the summit from the refuge Panaghia. The sky was clear, the view was fantastic and the sunrise magnificant!

Wim, 3-10 (top photo by Gert Jan Wiekart)

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2074 – Visiting Profitou Eliou

We had never visited skiti Profitou Eliou (skete of Prophet Elijah). We did see it several times from a distance. But today the Prophet was waiting for us in the morning clouds. Here we have an overview of the complex as seen from Pantocratoros. With the dominant katholicon, some surrounding buildings, all built on a levelled terrace, and the remains of an old windmill.

The situation before the church was built in 1903. The church was placed in the central courtyard.

Another view from Pantocratoros, with Profitou Eliou in the upper left corner.

The walk starts with a slight descent to the stream. Normally the passage is easy. But due to the rain the night before the stream had turned into a broad fast moving brown flow that carried all kinds of loose objects to the sea. The water level had risen dramatically. How we crossed fast brown stream is described by Herman in another blog.

Just before entering the skete we saw the windmill with vieilles vignes and an orchard. The blue symbol, unknown to me, on the windmill can be seen from afar. It reminds me of wicks, that are actually missing on the structure.

An old and a new way of producing power from of the forces of nature; wind and solar energy.

The very friendly and hospitable father Filemon showed us around in the church and invited us to take pictures of the interior. This is the central chandelier in the very centre of the katholicon. Father said that many people take the vertical shot from the middle of the light, as I did.

The style of the church is typically Russian; much daylight, open and very bright.

It is not very old to Athonite standards. The skete was founded in 1759 by an Ukrainian monk called Paisius Velichkovsky.

Father Filemon posing with the pilgrims Herman, Jacques and Barry. Later, in the guesthouse Father Filemon showed us the Rembrandt etching he got from “Jeltsin”. We tried to explain that it was not from “Jeltsin”, as he used to call Jitze, but from webhost Wim. We were not sure if he did get it. Read more about “Jeltsin”.

The background is formed by the impressive iconostasis with its 2000 kilos of pure gold.

In the guesthouse we had a long, informative and inspiring talk with fellow pelgrims.

We walked back over the save and dry dirt road  to Pantocratoros to collect our backpacks for the next stretch, the hike to Vatopediou.

Bas Kamps

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2073 -The courtyard of Pantocratoros

We spend the night in Pantocratoros. In the morning we allowed ourselves some time to wonder around the courtyard of Pantocratoros. I took the opportunity to take some pictures, that I want to share with you.

An orange tree contrasts with the ox-blood painted walls and the beige keep. The brick walls are well restored. There is a domed white marble baptismal font. One tree trunk is painted white. The fog surpassed the night.

The same orange tree with a blue background. The part over the central gate. The white pillars are an illusion; they are painted onto the stucco. The windows are real.

From the first floor is a wonderful view of the katholikon, the main church. Due to the high humidity a special reflection on the lead strips appeared.

The church bell with the katholikon.

The meditative floor of the central courtyard. The richness of colour and shapes is just stunning. Easy to overlook such a floor. But once you have seen it, there is no resistance against its simple and pure  beauty.

An overview of the inner courtyard with the top of the Phiale (=a building around a fountain), and the main entrance of the katholikon.

A detail of the leadworks on the roof of the katholikon.

To take the time to explore the details of the courtyard proved very inspiring. There is so much beauty and wonder in the simple aspects of Athonian buildings, a floor, a tile, a lead construction. All details are filled with a sense of spirituality.

Bas Kamps

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2072 – Looking back to Stavronikita

The beautiful coastal path from Stavronikita to Pantocratoros starts with a view on the slated roofs of service buildings in front of the actual monastery. In my opinion this is a fascinating perspective. A manmade stone world with an ancient cypress as a natural contrast.

Looking back to Stavronikita. This part of the monopati is secluded. The path is covered by trees. From a birds eye perspective you wouldn’t notice a trail. The ground is humid and scattered with dead leaves. It is an extremely pleasant walk. The path rises and falls gently in a pleasant rhythm. The monopati follows mainly the coastal line. The rain had stopped and we dried up slowly. A branch delivered its collected water it had kept just until we passed by.

Only at a few spots the dense foliage opens up for a view. The summit of the Holy Mountain was still embraced by clouds. A long string of clouds rose slowly behind a hill.

A more detailed look at Stavronikita from Pantocratoros. The picture was shot with a tele lens. The enormous efforts to save the monastery are clearly visible. It was built on a rock formation that became unstable after the earthquake of 1905. We wrote about this before: “Heavy reinforcements are made just under the building in the rocks to withstand the elements. These structures were built because a series of earthquakes severely damaged the rock on which the monastery was erected. There were serious concerns about the stability of the structure. It could fall off the cliff. The heavy earthquake of 1905, 7,5 on the Richter scale, of which the epicentre lay close to Stavronikita under the sea, is described by Herman in this blog.”

An interesting leaflet about the restauration of the tower and the western wing is available via internet. This is a page from the book.

The mayor restauration on the foundation was executed by the Center for the Preservation of Athonite Heritage, a Greek government organisation, based in Thessaloniki. Via the Waybackmachine, an internet archive, I found some information on the restauration.

Bas Kamps

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