1942 – Kuwaiti scientists discover Arabic manuscripts in Athos

A Kuwait University team has discovered rare manuscripts written in Arabic at Mount Athos. The scientific mission, which included history Professors Dr Abdulhadi Al Ajmi and Dr Mohammad Al Marzouqi, visited Athos monasteries and libraries.The Kuwaiti team visiting father Filemon from Profiti EliouDr Abdulhadi Al Ajmi in a Athos library. It was not mentioned in which monastery the discoveries were made.The news was first published on this website on September 16 2017 and also here (thanks to our reader Gerald Brisch who shared this news with us in a comment). Source: KUNA.

Wim, 20-9

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1941 – Panteleimonos monastery 2017

Panteleimonos aerial: from our flight over Athos the 6th of May 2017

Arriving at the monastery 

The clock tower on the left, the blue East wing in the middle and the katholicon on the right

Above the palmtree: the double church on the top floor

Me standing on one of the balconies of the East wing, making the picture below (the five photo’s above made by mr. Jitze Bakker):This is the same spot in 1980, during my first visit to Athos 37 years ago, when only 8 elderly monks remained at the monastery.

The belfry of Roussikon

View to the NorthView to the West/not Kassandra but Sitonia, thanks Bertinos, I always mix them up!
In the right corner of the blue building stairs go up to the double church. I took my chance to see if they were open and went up.But first I passed this marble fountain with a large icon of the PanaghiaThe stairs that lead to the first floor

A door on the first floor, with three paintings at its side and one – small – above it.Agios Dimitria or Dimitrios A scene from the live of Agios Dimitrios (?)a detail of the text from the painting above, where I can read Dimitria (in Russian)?Agios Dimitrios being wounded with spears by soldiersThe painting above the door, the child Jesus with his MotherThe door on the second floor, with two large paintingsA St. Sergii of Radonezh (thanks Bertinos)Apostles Petros and Joannis with the Panaghia (standing on clouds)A mosaic of Agios PanteleimonosOn my way down I first passed this little building (chandlery)and secondly this chapel (dedicated to  St. Mitrofan (Gr: Μητροφάνης) of Voronezh- thanks Bertinos)It was time to move on, because we had a long way to go to the other side of the peninsula, the cell of Maroudá. But before we left we passed this large churches, that lie a little higher up the hillAll buildings of the monastery are excellent state now, also this general storage. In 2009 it looked very diffrent, as you see on the picture below:From here we tried to find a path that should bring us directly to the Paleomonastir, but we were unable to find it, although some maps indicated that there would be a monopati behind Panteleimonos. So we took the long way over a dirt road, passing the Silouan mill and skiti Xenofontos, to be seen on the other side of the valley.

Next time more about our new discoveries in Paleomonastir.

Wim Voogd, 17/9

Posted in 19 Panteleimonos, trip 2017 | 4 Comments

1940 – the 2017 pilgrimage: arriving at Xenofontos and the hike to Roussikon

The 8th of May: the beginning of our 2017 pilgrimage (photo’s Jitze) The boat with pilgrims arrives at Docheiariou monasterya new chapel near DocheiariouThe boat from Ouranopolis arriving at the large jetty of XenofontosNear the pier: a new house for workers is being constructedPilgrims on their way to the gate (photo Tadeusz)The second, smaller pier, directly in front of Xenofontosthe first courtyard of Xenofontos, after entering the gate (photo by Tadeusz)The guestroom of Xenofontos: our initial plan was to overnight in this monastery, but when I tried to make a reservation it showed out I was to late, it was fully booked. Also a second attempt on the 8th of May was in vain, despite the helpfull father, who willingly tried to find a bed for us.The small church of Xenofontos, seen from the guesthouse (photo’s Jitze and Tadeusz)The katholicon in the second courtyard (photo Jitze)After a quick look in the monastery and a cup of coffee and a glass of water we started our hike Panteleimonos (photo Jitze)The roads were flanked by spring flowers (photo Tadeusz)In front of us, looking to the South, almost clear skiesAnd in our backs: large and dark clouds are pulling up from the mainland – our friends from Haarlem, who walked more to the North at the same time, found out what this ment. Not far from the next monastery a long new wall shows up (photo Tadeusz)PanteleimonosWhen you have look over the wall: a farm with fruit trees (and place to burn the garden waste)The iron bridge near Panteleimonos: high above in the valley you can see skiti Xenofontos, now inhabited by the renowned father Nikon, who used to live in Nea skiti until 2016. Above the bridge you see a part of the Silouan water mill.Panteleimonos in sight (two photo’s above by Jitze)

Wim Voogd, 13/9

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1939 – The Way of the Bey, second day, thirth leg.

We had an intensive interaction with animals on the Way of the Bey. The only human encounter on the long Way of the Bey, about 20 kilometers, was the surprise meeting with a group of Mount Athos Friends (FOMA) who were working on the ridge to get the path walkable again. That is a necessary work; we were full of scratches of thorny plants. The monopati was not an easy walk.Pilgrim Jacques is checking the fresh wounds on his arm and hand at Chera (meaning hand), the famous crossing on the ridge where the paths from Vatopedi to Sografou and the Way of the Bey meet. On the website of FOMA the path is labelled: “passable to good”, but that was probably put online after the trimming work had finished.The happy men, who came this morning from Vatopedi, working on the path, with their mechanical equipment. I was surprised by their sickle. Herman made a recent post about their excellent and much needed work. Maybe, one day, I will be one of the volunteers.The path over the ridge doesn’t offer many views over the peninsula. The vegetation is dense. The was one exception where the green curtain opened and we had a wide open view to Vatopedi from a height of approximately 400 meters. The sea and sky merged. We were not given a panorama to the west side of the peninsula. So no pictures of Sografou or Konstamonitou from the ridge.We took our lunch, consisting of dolmas from a tin and energy bars, near a deserted, but locked, house under a big chestnut tree. The outdoor stairs to the first floor had concrete rot. A fog entered quite rapidly. After lunch the fog changed into light rain and the light rain developed into pouring rain. We put on our rain capes and continued. In the enclosed wet world the path was almost gone. Some very dispersed signs were visible, from time to time. The rain kept pouring down. We had to cross a soaked fern field. The bad weather did not spoil our good spirits.A humourist gave the sign to Maroudá, our goal for the day, a high hat. The sun had reappeared and a few remaining patches of fog dissolved.The humourist repeated his joke.When we arrived in Maroudá we could hardly see Skiti Andreou from the terrace. It lay deep behind us under a thick woollen blanket.Sometime later we had a clear view of the skete, which we would visit the next day. But first we explored Maroudá and would have a wonderful and inspiring meeting with a singing novice.

Bas Kamps

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1938 – The Way of the Beast, second day, first leg.


It is called the Way of the Bey. The monopati from Chilandariou or from Esfigmenou to Karyes and further. The monopati leads over the hilly ridge. We had plenty of meetings with the Athonian fauna, that special day in May. For us it became the day of the Animal Kingdom. We started early and went without breakfast. We decided to climb to the ridge first, have a break and breakfast after we had gained some height. Jaap had made a spectacular, miraculous, recovery during the night. He could walk again. Earlier, in Thessaloniki, in the Hagios Demetrios, we had bought a little silver plated punched image  of a leg, that already guarded us. 

This is the spot where the monopati from Chilandariou (not on the map above)  and from Esfigmenou merge for the ridge walk to Karyes.

When the monopati runs into a dirt road we saw wolf claws. Our Wolf Proof. See this earlier post on the weblog. I am still proud about that amazing discovery of a wolfs footprint in the mud.Pilgrim Herman walking on the monopati close where we found the wolf proof. The weather was quite unstable. There was rain in the air.We found a turtle. The first turtle of the day we would encounter some more. We took a good look at each other. It was a Greek Land Turtle (Testudo hermanni) with a shield like a German Stahlhelm. They will probably survive us, they can become 100 years old. They are on the red list.

Colourful beehives along the dirt road. The boxes gave quite a modern and professional impression. It probably belongs to the monastery of Vatopedi.Our next meeting with the animal kingdom was an encountered a viper. Two of us walked just by not noticing the snake. Only the third discovered it. It was only 20 centimetres from the path. At first we thought it was dead. It didn’t move and didn’t react to our appearance of noises. We stood with the four of us around the creature. It had a big belly. It lay in the sun digesting its prey. I touched it gently with my walking stick, just to provoke a reaction. Then it briskly and aggressively rose and looked around. But soon the flight mode was stronger than the fight mode and it went crawling into the bushes.A closer look at our snake. Providence was on our site. We were lucky not to step on the viper and being bitten. We were quite far away from anti-poison.A camouflaged turtle on the monopati. Its protective colouring is impressive, it merges into the landscape. How many more creatures hide there?

Bas Kamps

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1937 – May 2017: the flight over Athos

This year I booked a flight above the peninsula of Athos to take aerial pictures. Because of busy times at  work I was not able to sort out all the pictures, that’s why it took some time to share them with you. In totall I made 452 pictures during this flight of more than two hours, and a video, which has also has to be edited yet. Our hight was about 1300 feet (about 400 meters).

To make a start I will first show you the aerial pictures of the twenty monasteries, in its original “Athos”-order:01 Lavra02 Vatopedi03 Iviron04 Chilandariou (and its Pine-forrest: read the last post of Bas Kamps)05 Dionysiou06 Koutloumousiou – in the background. We followed the coastline and did not fly over land.07 Pantocratoros08 Xiropotamou09 Sografou – photo by Jitze Bakker, who joined me together with Tadeusz10 Docheiariou11 Karakallou12 Filotheou13 Simonos Petras14 Pavlou15 Stavronikita16 Xenofontos17 Grigoriou18 Esfigmenou19 Panteleimonos20 Konstamonitou – in the far right corner of this picture.

More about this flight, the pilot and how to book it in a next post.

Wim Voogd, 19/8

Posted in 01 Lavra, 02 Vatopedi, 03 Iviron, 04 Chilandariou, 05 Dionysiou, 06 Koutloumousiou, 07 Pantocratoros, 08 Xiropotamou, 09 Sografou, 10 Docheiariou, 11 Karakallou, 12 Filotheou, 13 Simonos Petras, 14 Paulou, 15 Stavronikita, 16 Xenofontos, 17 Grigoriou, 18 Esfigmenou, 19 Panteleimonos, 20 Konstamonitou, trip 2017 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

1936 – Esfigmenou, first day, last leg.

The dirt road lingered down, until it finally met the flat and wide dirt road between Chilandariou and its harbour. That busy road, to Athonian standards, is lined with cypresses. Along its way there are so many cypresses, you could almost call it a cypress forest. Chattered you will find some small buildings that were made to carry crosses and to offer a resting place for the tired pilgrim. We rested for a while in the shade watching workmen who had dug a big trench along the dirtroad. They used big machines and were busy putting enormous tubes into the trenches. Probably a new fresh water supply for Chilandariou. Our fellow pilgrim Jaap had suddenly pain in one of his legs, after our very long walk, all the way from Thibais, crossing the peninsula, and he lay down for a while. We shared a few energy bars for the last stretch to Esfigmenou.  We met several happy and proud Serbian groups of pilgrims, coming back from an afternoon stroll to Esfigmenou. At the Y-crossing, taking you to the harbour or to Esfigmenou, we saw a big Japanese SUV standing there. There was a monk inside. We asked if he would be so kind to bring Jaap to Esfigmenou because of his sore leg. After an initial hesitation the monk allowed Jaap to join him in the car. The last descent to Esfigmenou gives a wonderful perspective on the monastery, with the sea as a backdrop. We were still not sure if we could receive hospitality, if we could stay the night there. We were mentally prepared to stay outside for a night. Going back to Chilandariou was not an option, considering Jaaps condition. At the gate we met him again. He had already paved our path and to our relieve we could stay.The view from the guesthouse where we were served some cold pasta with a vegetable sauce. Plain but pure food, exactly what we needed after our 20 km walk. That evening in the dormitory we met the excellent photographer and Athostraveller Div Rajkovic from Serbia. He travels the peninsula intensively.

Left from the main gate of the complex is a nice pool, filled with carp. We were not allowed to eat with the monks or to visit the church. But we are always surprised by the monks friendliness. They must work really hard, they have little, if any, support. They form an autonomous, autark, corner in the peninsula.We inspected the route for the next day, over the ridge; the Way of the Bey. This is an old sign to Vatopedi, not our route this time. We needed another path. We had some interest in finding the right path, because we clearly remembered how we got lost between Esfigmenou and Vatopedi.I took a closer look at the peculiar through-the-window-chimneys I have described before.The last picture of the day, taken from the water tap that we used to brush our teeth. The harbour is deserted. The ferries don’t stop at Esfigmenou. Only one monk is fishing at the end of the middle pier.  At the horizon we see Thrace and the mountain Pangeon vanishing into the tranquillity of the Athonian night.

Bas Kamps

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