More than 10 years I published two posts in nr 646 and 649 about two articles from 1957 in the Dutch magazine Katholieke Illustratie, written by the Dutch writer A. den Doolaard, who was accompanied by the famous Dutch photographer Cas Oorthuys (1908-1975).
His complete collection, consisting of 447 contact albums with ten thousands of photos, is kept in the National Photo Museum in Rotterdam. Last year the museum started a crowdsource project, named “Captions for Cas”, a part of a large project aimed at preserving, digitizing and describing his archive.
I was lucky to do my share and describe the photos he took when he went to Athos in 1957, together with his friend A. den Doolaard.
I am probably one of the worst pathfinders you can find. Our plan was to hike to Docheiariou and try to walk over as many monopati’s as possible. With the new map of Peter Holworth in our rucksack we left from Konstamonitou. A monk told us just before leaving that is was very easy to find a monopati leading to Docheiariou: “No problem”, he said.
Well, this turned out quit different: only the last few hundred meters, with Docheiariou in sight, we finally found the monopati that we had been looking for. But in hindsight it would not have been easy to find the right track and I think there is a huge job to be done for the Footpath team of the Friends of Mount Athos this year!
Let me show what happened, but first a picture of more than 10 beehives of Konstamonitou, along the dirt road leading to the sea/the arsanas.
One of the most important things (when you don’t want to get lost immediately after starting your hike) is to find the correct path right away. We decided to take the dirt road, expecting that we would find a turn to monopati soon, but making that decision, we already made our first big mistake. Let’s first have look at a detail of the new map of Peter Holworth.
If you look at the map it looks logical to follow the white road leading from the monastery to the coast. But you also can see black dotted line (a path) with a red color leading to the South and away from monastery going landinwards. This is the path that we should have chosen to walk monopati’s (but eventually it would have given us lots of troubles), but I’ll first show you the route we walked (see Wikiloc).
On the map below you can see where I took my photo’s:
Just before the solar power plant (point D) the dirt road makes a sharp turn:
But before going to see the solar energy panels we found this new garden (point C):
The dirt road going down through a valley: we were still waiting to find the first traces of a monopati leading to the monastery…….
And than, finally, at point D, not a monopati, but a well kept kalderimi path appears! Here the camera points to the East: where does this path goes to?
on the map below I drew a red line where according to me the kalderimi might lead to. Isn’t it beautiful job for the FoMA footpath team to find out if the monopati to Konstamonitou might still exist and can they maybe re-open it?
Let’s continue our visit to Konstamonitou on September 18th 2018 (see 2038 for post 1). After entering the monastery through the main entrance (Δ), we turned right, to go to the archondariki – guesthouse on the second floor (Z2).
Waiting for the archondaris, together with the three pilgrims from Athens. The helped me asking and translating an important question to the guestmaster: “how can we make a reservation for a night in the monastery”? The monastery does not use email to communicate and calling by phone or faxing usually gives problems. The answer was surprisingly simple: “just come to the monastery, we will always have a place to sleep”! This sounded like the old days on the Holy Mountain, when reservations were not an obligation and you could just simply announce your arrival.
This notice below is important for non-orthodox pilgrims: they are not allowed to attend services in church and the meal in the trapeza. This is such a pity for non-orthodox pilgrims. I hope the monks responsible for this decision once will understand that this not the way to promote orthodoxy to other pilgrims.
Let’s make a tour around the katholicon:
We left the monastery, after having asked the right way to go to Docheiariou, following a monopati. We were told that it would be easy to find. This information did not seem to be entirely correct. Next time more about this hike.
On the 2018 pilgrimage to Athos our itinerary started at arsanas Konstamonitou. On the boat to Dafni we met mr. Hadrian from Holland, who has been following our weblog for a quit a while, but this was the first time we met, not knowing that we both were visiting Athos on this particular day!
We got of at arsanas Konstamonitou, together with three pilgrims from Athens. We were lucky that a van was standing on the pier and the driver offered us a ride to the monastery. That saved us half an hour’s walk!
When you look the your left at this point you will see this ruined house.
Next time more pictures of the courtyard of Konstamonitou.
In post 1502 we published some old Athos pictures from 1923, following the Russian revolution a few years earlier. Soon after all funding of Russian monasteries stopped and the monasteries were impoverished. In May of 1923, Thoas Whittemore accompanied scholars from The American School of Classical Studies at Athens on a cruise through the Greek isles. During the voyage, he and friend George D. Pratt traveled to several monasteries on Mount Athos, in order to deliver food and supplies to the Russian and Bulgarian monks.
MOSCOW, December 3. /TASS/. The number of Russians visiting Mount Athos, where an Orthodox monastic community functions under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has fallen as a result of the dispute between the Russian Orthodox Church and Constantinople, Russian Ambassador to Greece, Andrey Maslov, told TASS.
“As far as we know, the flow of pilgrims from Russia to Mount Athos continues, although it has decreased,” he stated.
“The conflict led by the Patriarchate of Constantinople is an inter-clerical one and is unable to impact Russian-Greek relations,” the diplomat stressed. “According to the Moscow patriarchate, Russian pilgrims can visit the Holy Mountain, enter churches, communicate with the brethren, venerate the relics, but they cannot go to confession, or take communion.”
On October 11, the Holy and Sacred Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople decided to proceed with granting autocephaly to the Ukrainian Church. It revoked the 1686 decision on transferring the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and reinstated the heads of two non-canonical churches in Ukraine, Filaret of the Kiev Patriarchate and Makariy of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, to their hierarchical and priestly ranks. In addition, it announced plans to bring back the Kiev Metropolitanate under the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
On October 15, the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church said in response to that move that full communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople was no longer possible.
But on the 29th of December the media reported this: 29th December, 2018) Russian Orthodox Church worshiper will be allowed taking communion at Saint Panteleimon Monastery on Mount Athos in northern Greece, Metropolitan Hilarion, the head of the Church’s department for external relations, said Friday.
“We perceive Saint Panteleimon Monastery as a Russian monastery.
Of course, it belongs to the Constantinople Church, as do all monasteries on Mt. Athos, but we know that it was built with Russian money by Russian monks and houses a Russian and Ukrainian monastic brotherhood, all rites are performed in a Slavic language and the laity who come there may take communion in it … But not in other Athos monasteries,” the cleric told the Rossiya 24 television channel.