2207 – postcards from Athos: part three

In part one and two – posts 2205 and 2206 – I showed you the postcards from the first 17 monasteries. In this post I will present the postcards of the remaing three: nr 18, Esfigmenou, nr 19, Panteleimonos or Roussikon (with a large amount of postcards), and the 20th monastery, Konstamonitou (also called Kastamounitou). And to finish the postcards-posts I will publish some images from skitis and other places on Athos.

18 Esfigmenou

Esfigmenou, date unknown, aerial picture
Esfigmenou, date unknown, by “Editeur J.S. Varsano, Salonique” in French and Arabic language
Esfigmenou, date unknown, number 22, in French and English
Esfigmenou, date unknown, colered photograph, in Greek (Holy Mountain, the katholicon of Esfigmenou) and French (souvenir from Saloniki) with two (later added and painted) Greek flags on the roofs

19 Panteleimonos

This aerial photo showed Panteleimonos, after the big fires in 1968, that destroyed the beautifull waiting room of the guesthouse and the parts of the monastery itself.

Read more about the 1968 fire in this post. The following old postcards are are from before 1968, with all the buildings of the monastery still intact.

Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Greek, seen from from the North
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Russian and French , seen from from the North, with a Greek stamp
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Greek and French, seen from the South
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Russian and French, seen from the South, in full color
Panteleimonos, date unknown, the archondariki is burned
Panteleimonos, 1913 by Stéphane Passet, probably not a postcard, but a fine picture anyway. Read more about this expedition to Athos in post 1973.
Panteleimonos, date unknown, almost at the same spot as the picture above and most likely taken in the same period. At the white building in the middle some bushes lack on the photograph, so this one might be earlier then 1913.
Panteleimonos, date unknown, colered: we are closing in on the monastery with its bell tower and domes of the churches
Panteleimonos, date unknown, French nr 29:, black and white: almost at the same spot as the postcard above, now with many monks posing for the picture
Panteleimonos, date unknown, colered: in Russian and French: the South coast, with the large courtyard/garden behind the archondariki and with the gate
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Russian and French ,colored: probably the same maker as the postcard above. The katholicon with the bell tower and the double church in the right corner
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Russian and French, colored: also probably the same maker as the postcard above. The interior of the double church, here called the “Pokrov” church
Panteleimonos, colored, 17 October 1918, in Russian and French, with a stamp, probably the same maker as the three postcards above. Here is the East part of the monastery, with the church of the Archangels and the four Hierarchs (Metropolitans of Moscow). The large building on the left is a general storehouse and and place for the workers. Until recently it was in ruins, nowadays it is completely renovated.
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Russian and French: probably the same maker as the four postcards above. Here is a picture of the interior, with 9 monks in he hospital. With a written text: Souvenir Du mont Athos
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in Greek and French, black and white: almost at the same spot as the postcard above
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in French: Paris Av. de Breteuil 4, Conseil gé des Pelerinages (General Council of Pilgrims). The pilgrims accompanied by the abbot leave the monastery Roussikon.
Panteleimonos, date unknown, in French: The domes of the monastery of the Russians: Paris Av. de Breteuil 4, Conseil gé des Pelerinages (General Council of Pilgrimages) with the chapel of Ag. Mitrofanis of Voróni and the double church
Panteleimonos, date unknown, with the katholicon and its typical green and yellow color and the front of the chapel of Ag. Mitrofanis of Voróni
The backside of the postcard above with the written text: Czarina – soldiers

Panteleimonos, date unknown, French: this probably a photograph taken in the photo studio of the monastery, where two Dutch pilgrims found a treasure with (mostly broken) old glass-negatives in 1976 – for more information see post 861 and 862. On the last photo in post 862 you can recognize the same piece of furniture as on this picture.

20 Konstamonitou

Konstamonitou, date unknown, full color: aerial picture of this small and often forgotten monastery. That is why only two postcards are found on the internet. We can see the gate and the West and South wing.
Konstamonitou, date unknown, colerd, in Greek and French . Here the name of the monastery is spelled Kastamonitou. Here we see the East and the South wing.Under the dome left is the entrance to the monastery. The dome on the other side is not present at the first postcard above.

This last picture from December 1956 of a monastery is riddle to me, because I could not determine which monastery it might be. Lavra perhaps? Who can help?

A Dafni

Dafni, date unknown, the main port of Athos, aerial picture, with the customs office still on the pier to control all pilgrims. I see no cars, so this must be before 1963. Here a quay wall is build, on the next picture you still can see a beach-like coast.
Dafni, date unknown, in Greek and French, colered: I think this even is an older postcard, bcause you see a sailing boat with masts (and no cars either), only a beach, no quay wall.

B Skiti Andreou

Skiti Andreou, date unknown, seen from the North in Kapsala, with Andreou left from the middle of this photo, and the right the large Russian kelli of St. Chrysostomos, now totally in ruins.
Skiti Andreou, 1962, aerial picture, with the newly build road to Dafni in the background
Skiti Andreou, date unknown, seen from the West, with the kitchen gardens

Skiti Andreou, 1981: excact the same picture, with completely different colors!

C Nea skiti

Nea skiti, date unknown, seen from the South
Nea skiti, 1953, nr 256,in Greek and French, with the bell tower and the kariakon , novelle skiti de St Paul Mt Athos Athos

With the written text, in German: “habe die Adresse verlegt, gebt sie bitte Frau Neuss” meaning : I have misplaced the address, please give it to Ms. Neuss.

D Skiti Agia Anna

Nea skiti, 1911, in Greek and French
Skiti Anna, date unknown, nr 218, in Greek and French, La skite de st Anne Mt Athos
Skiti Anna, Paris Av. de Breteuil 4, Conseil gé des Pelerinages (General Council of Pilgrimages) , Le skite sainte-Anne et le sommet de L’Athos couronné de neige (with the top of the mountain covered in snow).

E Skiti Prodromou

skiti Prodromou, date unknown, aerial photograph, in Rumenian
skiti Prodromou, date unknown, seen from the Sout

According to me this might very near the spot where the German army had their flag position, overlooking the Eastern and Southern coast of Athos. Soon after the Second World War the place was demolished. Could the stones at the foreground be a parts of it, or should we look for pieces of concrete (more to the edge on the Soutern part of this ridge?). I am determined to find this place once!

skiti Prodromou, date unknown, aerial view of an artist impression. The top of the mountain is on the wrong spot and the tower at the entrance is too high!

F Skiti Profitou Eliou

Skiti Profitou Eliou, date unknown, fulll color, seen from the West
Skiti Profitou Eliou, date unknown, fulll color , seen from the South

G Miscellaneous postcards

The top of Mount Athos, with Lavra, date unknown, aerial photograph
Mount Athos, with Lavra,, now with the text Mont Athos in French and dated 14 August 1984.On the backside a written text in English
Mount Athos, date unknown, from Unesco, with a Chinese text?
Athos postcard with different monasteries, date unknown
Agiou Vasiliou,1980
Kaliagra – arsanas Koutloumousiou, date unknown, with the summit in the background
Kellia near Karyes: I am not shure if this is right description of the location.
Athos, West coast, date unknown: in French and English, ND Phot, Visé Paris no 65: it is difficult to say where this is excactly, somewhere at the harbor of Jovanitsa maybe of closer to Ouranopolis?
Two novices (?) 13-2-1935, probably from the photo studio of Panteleimonos
A shoemaker monk, 1953, place unknown
An Athos monk, 1983
Kelli Nicholas Bourazeri, 21-8-1905, in Russian, with a French stamp, and the written text: Vue du Mont Athos

The large kelli lays near Karyes: you can see the building on the foreground has scaffolds and is not finished yet. The workers threw large amounts of building material in front of this building. The fine bell tower has disappeared in the meanwhile, but behind it a beautiful new church is build recently.

The backside of this postcard, send to France Marseille, with a post stamp of the German post in Constantinopel (?)
Kelli Nicholas Bourazeri, date unknown, in Russian,colored. Here the building on the previous postcard is finished.

This ends the overview of Athos postcards over the centuries, I hope you liked it.

Wim Voogd, 10-6-2021

Posted in 18 Esfigmenou, 19 Panteleimonos, 20 Konstamonitou, Dafni, kellia, Nea Skiti, Prodromou, Skiti Andreou, Skiti Anna, Skiti Profitou Eliou | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2206 – postcards from Athos: part two

In part one – post 2205 – I showed you the postcards I found on the internet of Karyes and the first eight monasteries. In part two the next monastery is:

09 Sografou

Sografou, 1917, made by Zepdji photographe, Editeur Rollet Lyon, visé Paris nr 3046 and 251, in French

This is fourth postcard from Zepdji. Until now I discovered three other postcards made by Zepdji in 1917: one from Vatopedi (see last post), one from Docheiariou and one from Karakallou. These postcards are made during World War I, when Athos was under the occupation of a French/Russian army, as we will notice from the written text on the backside of this postcard.

28 May 1917, almost 104 years ago: a French text on the backside of the postcard

My French is not good but in the middle of the text I can read this: “je suis en bonne santée” and “hier nous avons de bombardes par les aviont” etc. meaning something like: “I am in good health” and “yesterday we have been bombared by airplanes”. Who can help translating the complete text? (thanks DD from France for translating the complete text: read his comment).

Most photographs from the Sografou monastery are made from the hill opposite the monastery and show us the West wing, with on the left the annex where the kitchen just be (at least in 1980).

Sografou, date unkown, in Greek and English, black and white picture

On this postcard, probably made later then 1917, another annex is added one floor higher to the West wing of the monastery. Left is the North wing, with the entrance. On the top of the oval protruding part in the West wing is the trapeza (with a dome).

Sografou, date unkown, in full color
Sografou, date unknown, aerial photo

Next to the gate in the North wing, you seen long streched building, where the archondariki is situated. Nowadays it is completely renovated and luxurious. The other houses are for workers/laymen.

Sografou, date unknown

On this postcard you can see the roof of the trapeza with its dome and on the right the katholicon. On the foreground the South wing of the monastery. This picture is probably shot from the opposite hill with a telelens.

10 Docheiariou

Docheiariou, postcard from 24-11-1918, made by P. Zepdji by Rollet, Lyon, in French and English

Although this postcard has been published before in post 1065, I added it again because I want to bring all the Zepdji postcards together. This one differs from the other because it had no numbers on it and also is in English. Could it a be (illegal) copy of the original?

Docheiariou, date unknown, in color

Photo taken from the sea with the arsanas buildings

Docheiariou, date unknown, in color

This photo is almost identical to the previous, taken from a slight different angle.

Docheiariou, date unknown, in color

Here the tree in front of the boat house has been felled and new tree grows next to the house on the right: a picture taken in a later year probably.

Docheiariou, date unknown, aerial photo
Docheiariou, date unknown, aerial photo

Aerial photo, with building activities/scaffolds at the boat house. The pier has been enlarged and a small one has been added, to create a tiny harbor. Luckily the ugly red construction crane is not this postcard. I do not know when they put it next to he North wall, from 2007 until now I have been spotting this disfiguring red monster. Is it allowed to let stand there, in Unesco heritage site, for more then a decade?

Photo by Wim Voogd, 2007

11 Karakallou

Karakallou, 1917, made by Zepdji photographe, editeur Rollet, Lyon, visé Paris nr 3042 and 199, in French: with the text: “Souvenier d’Oriente Jamet?es?”

The text on this card resembles the text that was used by soldier “Pierre” on his postcard of Vatopedi in 1917, which I showed you in part one of post 2205, postcard nr 12. Could they have known each other as a soldier of the French army and copied each others massages on the front of the postcard?

Karakallou, 1917, made by Zepdji photographe, editeur Rollet, Lyon, visé Paris nr 3042 and 199, in French: with the text: “pouvoir tu ? ? quelques ? ? ?

Another Zepdji postcard from 1917, with another French partially legible text on the postcard: “pouvoir tu ? ? quelques ? ? ?”. The photo shows the North wall of the monastery. In the background you can probably see kellion Timiou Stavrou.

Karakallou, date unknown, color

On this postcard the South and East wall is photographed.

12 Filotheou

Philotheou, date unknown, in Greek and French, colered

On this postcard the South and East wall, with the gate, is photographed.

Filotheou, date unknown, aerial photo, color

Much has changed in the meantime, as you see on the 3D model from Google earth below. In the empty corner left a building (S/W corner) has been added and lower part of the opposite wing has been transformed in a two floor building(North wing).

3D model of Filotheou from Google Earth: the South and West walls.

13 Simonospetras

Simonospetras, 1935, black and white
Simonospetras, date unknown, in full color
Simonospetras, date unknown, in full color

The three postcards are almost identical, only the climbing plant on the right wall in the first photo is smaller.

14 Agiou Paulou

Agiou Paulou, date unknown, colored, in Greek and French
Agiou Paulou, date unknown, full color
Agiou Paulou, date unknown, full color

Three postcards from the same spot/angle, almost identical to each other. The facade and the the buildings at the entrance have been altered and the large pine tree in front of the kiosk has been felled or has fallen.

15 Stavronikita

Stavronikita, 1984, in color, with a monk and a small boat, a Greek kaik, on the foreground
Stavronikita, date unknown, in color: East and South walls
Stavronikita, date unknown, aerial photo, in color

Stavronikita is my favorite monastery, one of the only remaining, without electricity inside the monastery. Nothing has changed here until today, luckily.

16 Xenofontos

Xenofontos, date unknown

This postcard shows the long Eastern wall of the monastery: the right part of this wall does not contain buildings, as is common with Athos monasteries. Until recently the North wall also only consisted of a wall, but nowadays part is filled by a new building (more information in post 2062). In the background the islands of Amouliani appear and the Greek mainland in the North.

Xenofontos, date unknown, black and white, in French and English: “Visé Paris, nr 69 = ND Phot.”
Xenofontos, date unknown, aerial photograph
Xenofontos, date unknown, West wall, colored, In Greek and French
Xenofontos, date unknown, colered, in Greek and French

17 Grigoriou

Grigoriou, date unknown: Mont-Athos Conseilgé des Pélerinages, 4 Av. de Breieuil, Paris: Le Monastery de
St- Paul: added number 2387

Mistakes were made even in old times: here a French postcard printed in Paris shows us Grigoriou and the text mentions: St-Paul.

Grigorioi, 13th may 1988: card sent to England

This is clearly a postcard bought by tourists who do not visit Athos, as we can learn from the text: Edith goes shopping and window gazing in the morning and spend the afternoon on the beach!

Grigoriou, date unknown

What is interesting om this postcard is the old tower on the right side of the monastery, whitch is even better visible on the next two postcards.

Grigoriou, date unknown
Grigoriou, date unknown

On both full color postcards you can see the old ruined and high tower stil standing. It has been removed in the meanwhile, as you can see on the picture below from 2019:

Grigoriou, 2019, photo Wim Voogd

Maybe the old tower is a remnant of the great fire from 1761, when the old parts of the monastery were distroyed totally. I am not sure when the ruin of the old tower is removed. According to the other pictures of Grigoriou that I have in my archive, I could find out that the ruins of this tower has been demolished between 1909 and 1956. What is assuring about Grigoriou that the iconical palm tree is seen on almost every picture!

Wim Voogd, 28th May 2021

Posted in 09 Sografou, 10 Docheiariou, 11 Karakallou, 12 Filotheou, 13 Simonos Petras, 14 Paulou, 15 Stavronikita, 16 Xenofontos, 17 Grigoriou | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

2205 – postcards from Athos: part one

Sending a postcard home was in former days a way to let friends and family know where you have been and a pilgrimage to Athos is no exception to this tradition. As early as 1905 the first postcards from Athos appear, mostly with a text in French. The early cards with photos were mostly printed abroad or I presume, in Thessaloniki. I wonder where you could buy these postcards back then, I think it would not have been easy the find them. There is one card of Iviron that gives us a clue (see below).

On our weblog we showed you in previous posts already many other postcards, for example in post 1334: 66 postcards of all 20 monasteries. Today I will present (in this part one) a few more (old) postcards, not only from all monasteries, but also from the “capital” Karyes and (later) from some skities:

00 – Karyes

Karyes, 1922
Karyes in full color, with Greek and French texts: 6th February 1926, from Raymond Jaloniques

On both postcards you can see that the current building of the Holy Epistatia with its white stairs, left from the old tower where the ‘Tragos’ is kept and the bell tower of the Protaton-church, is not build yet.

Karyes: seen from the South, date unknown
Karyes, in Greek and French, date unknown: with skiti Andreou and the Protaton
Karyes, 1957: the Protaton interior, sent from Turkey (see the stamps) by “Le professeur”
Not actually a postcard, but a serie of 16 pictures from the Athonias academy in Karyes
Karyes: nr 16: pupils/novices on the stairs of the Athonias academy

01- Lavra

Lavra: with a postage stamp canceled in 1963: the Katholicon on the stamp and the photo. The stamp memorates the 1000 years celebrations of the founding of Athos in Lavra in 963.
Lavra: date unknown, Greek, with the grave of Ag. Athanasios and the phiale.
Lavra: date unknown, a view from above, with the ossuary in front.

02 – Vatopedi

Vatopedi: 1917, made by Zepdji in Lyon, photograph by Rollet, visé Paris nr 3043 and 252: Text: “Souvenir d’Oriente Pierre”
This postcard is written during World War I here is the backside of this postcard (in French).

In 1917 a French/Russian army occupied Mount Athos (see post 1950). Maybe this postcard is written by one of the soldiers.

Vatopedi 1957: in Greek and English, seen from the South
Vatopedi, date unknown, in full color
Vatopedi: date unknown, in black and white
Vatopedi, date unknown: the courtyard wit katholicon and bell tower, in black and white
Vatopedi, date unknown (about 1940?): a group of pilgrims with monks posing for the photo
Vatopedi, date unknown: Greek, in color, the katholicon, trapeze and general view.
Vatopedi, date unknown, aerial photograph, entrance and East wing in front

03 – Ivirón

Ivirón: date unknown, aerial photo

What is striking here is that this picture showes the South wall. Most pictures are from the Eastern or Northern walls. Visible is a large brown elevation (rocks?), that end at a green area close to the wall. Behind it a gap is filled up by a red wall, while at most monasteries the courtyards are completely surrounded by buildings. Nowadays this area has been cleared totally and a new building has been added at the red wall, as you can see on the aerial photo I took in 2017:

Iviron 2017 – photo Wim Voogd: Eastern (sea) side and South side. The East-area has been cleared and roads lead up to the walls nowadays.
Ivirón, date unknown, North wall, Greek and French texts

The gap in the Southern wall is clearly visible here. The old tower is, just as on the postcard below, still in ruins.

Ivirón, date unknown, North wings and the gate/entrance
Ivirón, date unknown

This picture shows a part of the arsanas left, the East wing of Ivirón, now with the renovated tower in the background.

Ivirón, date unknown, with the renovated tower and a text in French: “acheter cette carte a un village a 30 K. envions (?) a Salonique”, translated: this card was bought in a town 30 km from Saloniki
Ivirón, date unknown: East wing, published by Olympic Airways
The arsanas of Ivrirón

04 – Chilandariou

Chilandariou, date unknown, linocut made by Reinhold Zwerger (1924-2009)

You can read more about the artist Reinhold Zwerger and Athos-map maker in post 1339.

Chilandariou, date unknown: before the great fire from March 2004
Chilandariou, date unknown: here the bigger trees take away the view of the wall and tower

05 – Dionysiou

Dionysiou, date unknown: this Greek postcard shows parts of the Apocaliptic scenes from the Bible book of John
Dionysiou, date unknown, aerial view: the compact size of the monastery is clearly visible.
Dionysiou, date unknown, black and white: inside the trapeza

06 – Koutloumousiou

Koutloumousiou: 1899, in French: an early postcard with an overview of Athos and the top of the Holy Mountain. Also with a couple of steam/sailships, and a small image of the monastery, decorated with nice purple flowers
Koutloumousiou, 1928, in Greek and French
Koutloumousiou, date unknown: the East and North wings
Koutloumousiou, date unknown: seen from the air. The green plants in the courtyard look like grape vines on a pergola (?)

07 – Pantocratoros

Pantocratoros, date unknown: the arsanas and the monastery
Pantocratoros, date unknown: photo almost from the same angle
Pantocratoros, date unknown, the East wing, with red and yellow colors
Pantocratoros, date unknown, Greek and French text: the North wing, with Stavronikita and the Holy Mountain in the background.

08 – Xiropotamou

Xiropotamou, date unknown: Greek postcard, with a relic and the phiale and bell/clock tower
Xiropotamou, date unknown, Greek: the West wing and kitchen gardens
Xiropotamou, dat unknown, in Greek and French nr 215: the entrance in the South wing, with a pergola with vines
Xiropotamou, date unknown: aerial photo wth the extended kitchen gardens, North and West wings

Wim Voogd, 25-05-2021

Posted in 01 Lavra, 02 Vatopedi, 03 Iviron, 04 Chilandariou, 05 Dionysiou, 06 Koutloumousiou, 07 Pantocratoros, 08 Xiropotamou, Karyes, monasteries | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2204 – the hike from Dafni to Xiropotamou

In 1980 I visited the Holy Mountain for the first time and Ivíron was the first monastery I stayed in. Thirtynine years later I finally visited the last monastery of the 20, Xiropotamou. Although the monastery is easy to reach from Dafni (only 2.1 km, a hike a little more then half an hour), many pilgrims pass this place whilst traveling in the bus to Karyes or taking a boat further down the coast. So I am not the only one who completes the tour of the 20 monasteries with a visit to this, I am sad to say and also according to other pilgrims, rather inhospitable monastery. Not that they are unfriendly, because on our arrival we were treaded with a lovely lunch by a English speaking archondaris from Georgia and later with a beautiful room, but for us non-orthodox pilgrims the church and trapeza were kept closed and any contact with monks was avoided meticulously. Even a group of orthodox pilgrims, who asked politely to see the katholicon, were denied to have a look and left disappointed and a little frustrated, before hiking to a next destination.

But anyway, we started our hike from Dafni: the first part leads along the dirt road to Karyes. Soon after the arsanas of Xiropotamou a kalderimi goes up to the monastery.

The path going up to Xiropotamou monastery, standing on the bridge over a dried-up bed of a brook.

The dried-up bed of the brook that leads to the arsanas

The old stones of the kalderimi, fairly intact

Along the path: a praying mantis

The West wing of Xiropotamou seen from the kalderimi

The fence at the end of the kalderimi: here it goes down to Dafni

The main entrance to the monastery

The special gargoyle at the South/West corner: a dragon?

An old picture of Xiropotamou: the tower of the portico building is still in ruins at that time. This ruinous state of this part of the monastery is still confirmed by the plan made by Feigl in 1980.

From: Feigl Athos: Vorhölle zum Paradies 1982

On the Feigl plan of the monastery you can also see that the old path/monopati from Dafni continues here to Karyes. Some parts of this path should still be in use, as you can see on the two maps from Zwerger and Howorth (marked with a red line). I wonder if anybody recently walked on these paths on a hike to Karyes?

The archondariki building left of the entrance (builing U) is totally renewed nowadays, as you see on the next picture, that I took during my flight over Athos in 2017.

Xiropotamou, 2017

On a picture above from the main gate you can see that on the right side of the main entrance a new wall, with vines growing in front of it. This is how this place looked like in 1928, according to this postcard.

On this aerial photo (below right) is clear that the old wall and building has been removed totally at some point.

Wim Voogd, 15-5

Posted in 08 Xiropotamou, Dafni, Trip 2019, walking | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

2203 – After the Corona lock-down: Athos reopens partially from May 11th 2021

Dark skies over Athos will disappear soon

Finally some good news: Orthodoxia News Agency has just reported that the Holy Mountain will again receive pilgrims from tomorrow, May 11, 2021. The lock-down period ends today, May 10th. However, there are restrictions:

  1. for each monastery ten diamonitiria/visitors,
  2. for each koinobitic skiti five,
  3. for each idiorritmic skiti two and
  4. for each kelli or hermitage one diamonitírion/visitor.

Hiking/travelling from one monastery to another is still forbidden, you can only visit one monastery. The restrictions include the mandatory tests for the coronavirus at the entry points of the Holy Mountain, with only those with negative results beiing allowed to enter.

According mr Lolis Christos from the Pilgrimsoffice in Ouranopolis/Thessaloniki these few special permits are given by the monasteries or skitis/cells themselves. We will have wait a little more until the general permits to visit Athos reopen.

For a few pilgrims this is good news, let’s hope that the general permit for all pilgrims will be back soon.

Wim Voogd, 10-11 May 2021

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2202 – Grigoriou: photo overview, a tour from the arsanas to the Katholicon

The arsanas of Grigoriou, with the boat Agia Anna arriving at 10 PM

The boat house at the arsanas is being renovated (Oktober 2019)

Monks working on oil-smeared cables

Arsanas Grigoriou, with a “second archondariki” on the left. The main archondariki is inside monastery walls, where you can stay when there not too many pilgrims.

The stairs that lead to the “second archondariki”.

The interior of the “second archondariki”: a large sleeping room for big groups of pilgrims and with many bunk beds.

The path from the arsanas goes up to the main entrance. On this spot with the stairs, the monopati leads you to Dionysiou.

Looking down at the arsanas: large cypress trees and houses with beautiful balconies frame the path

Grape vines provide shade on the path to the entrance

The main entrance with its portico and two Corinthian pillars. Above the doors and behind glass is a painting of Ag. Grigoriou.

The text above the door from 1896.

The ceiling of the portico with a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

The hall that leads to the first courtyard, with on the right a door for the door-keeper.

The red door to the door-keepers room.

A view of the first courtyard, with again grape vines providing shade. On the right are the rooms of the archondariki. On the left in the backgrond is the phiale with its beautiful paintings, read more about it here.

The first courtyard: looking back at the main entrance

Two more images of the first couryard

The water tap in the first courtyard

The door to the second courtyard with in a niche – behind glass – a mosaic of Saint Grigoriou “O Ktitor”, offering the katholicon, surrounded by paintings

This is how it looked like 10 years earlier, in 2009.

The hall that leads to the second courtyard, with a large wooden semantron and a smaller iron version.

The second courtyard, with on the right the stairs that go up to the archondariki, on the left teh katholicon.

The doors to the katholicon

In the wall next to the entrance doors: on the left painted tiles and on the right stone carved haut- and bas relief decorations with Christain symbols, with one special plant- of palm tree like image.

The roof of the katholicon of Grigoriou

The outside walls of the katholicon, with remnants of different colors paint

Walking around the katholicon: beautiful masonry walls from 1783

The famous palm tree, by which it is easy the identify the Grigoriou monastery on pictures. A yuca plant is trying to compete in hight.

The katolicon seen from a different angle.

And another photo of the katholicon: behind it in the South, you can see the rocks, where the slopes of the Holy Mountain start.

Wim Voogd, 18 April 2021

Posted in 17 Grigoriou, arsanas, Trip 2019 | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2201 – Yearning for ancient paths, the monopatia of Mt. Athos

Karyes, near Koutloumousiou

The activity on Mount Athos that I miss the most is walking the old monopatia, the narrow foot- and mule paths that are all over the peninsula.

Many of them are unfortunately destroyed and replaced by gravel roads.

Many thoughts come in my mind while walking these paths, how old are they, who build them, how long did it took to build them? 

Could it be that some paths, especially around the mountain itself and the Lavra monastery founded in 963 are from medieval origin? Or even older? In pre Christian times there were several villages on the peninsula that presumably were connected with each other.

Who walked them? During our walks, that can last a whole day, we, most of the time, do not meet anybody. But before building the gravel roads these paths had to be full with pilgrims and monks.

Many monopatia are very nicely paved, with horizontals stones that stand up a bit to drain the rainwater or with a kind of trench in the middle. Sometimes nature itself destroys the paths. Such as an immense landslide that came from the mountain once,  between Prodromou and Lavra. Suddenly the paths ends, and then you have to climb through 15 meters of messy bushes, a kind of improvised path.  At the end of it , the paved path continues. Wild boars toss the stones on the paths with their snouts in search of food but men with bulldozers are most quilty for the destruction of the monopatia.

Ofcourse not all paths are paved but so trampled by the many pilgrims that vegetation will not grow, but the overgrowth of the path is lurking. Fortunately The Friends of Mount Athos (FoMA) have a path clearing program.

My brother and I have hiked most of the footpaths on Athos at one point or another, but still have the desire to look for paths just beyond the border with the ordinary world. If they are still there?

Here is an overview of the monopatia of my trip in 2019:

Pantocratoros, path with a trench in the middle
On the road to Vatopedi, an unpaved path
near Vatopedi, marble stones
to the chapel of Nelios, a marble path
The paths ends suddenly because of a landslide, an old tree avalanche between Lavra and Prodromou
near Lavra
near Lavra, standing stones to drain the water from the path
The path from Lavra (tower) to Prodromou and further to Kavsokalivia and Sk. Anna

Herman Voogd

Posted in 01 Lavra, Trip 2019, walking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

2200 – Tourism to the Holy Mountain?

Athos is closed for tourists. It has always been, as far as I’m informed. Due to Covid-19 Athos is now closed for pilgrims as well. It must be really quiet and peaceful now. The monks can fully concentrate on their tasks. But for pilgrims seeking consolation and advice it will be difficult not to be able to travel.


Seeing this tourist poster was a big surprise for me. The poster is part of a series. There is another one promoting the Greek island of Mykonos. So It seems to advocate travelling and promote tourism to the Holy Mountain. I found out that it was created in 1949 by artist M. Pechlivanidis & Company. I wonder if there was any tourism allowed, shortly after the Second World War. 

We see the well-known rock on which the monastery of Simonos Petras lies as a crow’s nest. The perspective of the picture is from the road to Dafni. We visited this spot as pilgrims in 2019. The ferry is just arriving, more than 300 meters below.

In these days you don’t see posters of Mount Athos advertising for travels. But I was amazed to find in the site called “wikitravel” a possibility to book a hotel on the holy Mountain. We know of only one hotel in Karyes, above the bar in the main street.

One of the older pictures of this spot is this one, taken between 1910 – 1915.

Even older pictures, from 1853 was posted earlier (post 1864). This is the one with the same perspective.


Let’s hope that the vaccination on the Holy Mountain will be completed soon so that the Holy Mountain can be reopened for pilgrimages.

Bas Kamps

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2199 – Ali Sami Bey, Ottoman photographer


Ali Sami Bey (prob. 1872 – unknown) worked as a photographer in Karyes from 1925 till 1927. He was a ex-colonel and so called aide-de-camp to the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II.


He made black and white photo’s but he was also tinting his work with a pen and Chinese ink. The colouring process damaged the photo’s.


The harbour of Dafni with on the right a kind of lift? Notice that there is no paved road along the coast but a small donkey/mule path. The first road on Athos was build here in 1963, the road from Dafni to Karyes.

The spring of Athanasius, Selfportrait

Ali Sami was always dressed in his old military uniform. He started his career in the Ottoman army and later became the Imperial photographer for Sultan Abdul Hamid II. Following the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, supporters of the Sultan were purged and in 1909 the Sultan was exiled to Greece. Ali Sami arrived in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1909 and published the newspaper Hak (Right),while in 1916 he published the French newspaper Le droit (The Law). He was nick-named Bahriyeli (sailor).


Chilandariou, with on the right the small aqueduct that leads to the kitchen of the monastery.


Not many people appear on his photographs but in this case the monks, muleteers and pilgrims of Docheiariou posed for the Photographer.


The Russian monastery of Panteleimonos with the green union shaped towers of the church.

an icon studio

The studio of the Kaltsoni brotherhood in Sk. Anna.

More Ali Sami Bey here.

Herman Voogd

Posted in 04 Chilandariou, 10 Docheiariou, 19 Panteleimonos, Dafni, Karyes, people, Skiti Andreou | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2198 – Vaccinations have started on Mount Athos (20-3-2021)

source: http://www.makthes.gr

A Coast Guard boat delivered the first 400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Mount Athos on Friday, March 19, 2021. The vaccination center was set up in the health center in Karyes. On March 20, 2021, the first 36 monks were vaccinated, as well as staff-workers of monasteries, while the vaccinations will continue on March 20 and 21. The Abbot of the Holy Monastery of Esfigmenos, Archimandrite Mr. Bartholomew, was the first to be inoculated, followed by monks from the monasteries of Iveron, Koutloumousiou, Simonos Petras who went to Karyes especially for this purpose.

health center Karyes

Last Wednesday, March 17, the start of the vaccinations on Mount Athos was planned, but due to the weather – there was strong wind – it was not considered appropriate to let the boat sail. There is relief among the monks that the vaccinations have started. According to information from makthes.gr, the initial caveats, the denial of some, even the conspiracy theories, have diminished. Typically, they even asked to vaccinate monks infected with coronavirus. Although the monastic state is in a lock-down and pilgrims are not allowed in, the monks are particularly scared, because the Coenobite system, according to which they live in small spaces, all attend church together and the virus is likely to spread. In addition, there are a significant number of monks who are elderly and have underlying illnesses.

Source text: makthes.gr. Read the whole article here.

Mount Athos has been in a lockdown since the beginning of December and, according to the decision of the Holy Community, the ban on entry for pilgrims is valid until March 30. The employees of the monasteries and employees who must enter the Athonite State, undergo a coronavirus test in Ouranoupolis and only can enter if it is negative. The Holy Community will discuss the matter in the coming days, but the lifting of the ban will depend on both the course of the pandemic and decisions made by the government.

Covid 19 cases were recorded on Mount Athos, where at least four monks lost their lives and many others were hospitalized in Thessaloniki.

Wim Voogd, 21-3

The lock down of Athos is now extended until April 15th.

Read more about the vaccinations here:


Wim, 29/3/2021

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