“After a large police operation, a thief was arrested on June 13th around 9 in the evening, who stole the votive offerings from the icon of Panagia Portaitissa at the monastery of Iviron, Mount Athos. The offender is a 56-year-old Romanian national who was located in a forest area in the wider area of the Zograf monastery. He had also plundered other monasteries in the monastic community to the tune of at least 150,000 euros. Police said the suspect removed necklaces, jeweled medallions, crosses and as well other gold and silver items from the monastery of Agios Pavlou in December 2014. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that he had also snatched valuable items on another four occasions from monasteries on Mount Athos between November 2017 and May 2019 and sum of 4,300 euros was found. The suspect has been remanded in custody”. (news from Romfea.news and ekathimerini.com and other places on the internet)
It is unbelievable to see how some visitors of this peaceful part of the world can’t behave themselves and steal from the monasteries…
Ferdinand Bauer, a German draftsman, was hired by John Sibthorpe for an expedition to Greece to collect organic specimens that later resulted in the publication of the famous botanical work Flora Graeca Sibthorpiana.
Another member of the scientific party was Ninian Imrie, a Scotish mineralogist who took several geological specimen f.i. a piece of general rock from the highest point of the summit. Imrie stated that Athos was “beautiful beyond description”. Both Bauer and Imrie depicted Skiti Anna in 1787.
The main building of Sk. Anna which is seen on the works of Bauer and Imrie.
The original drawing by Ferdinand Bauer of Sk. Anna which is a little bit different from the image in the book.
This is how the situation is today; Skiti Anna on the west slope of Mount Athos.
The expedition on Athos lasted 4 days. They went from Dafni to Xeropotamou to Karyes and to Iviron. They got mules from the Iviron monastery and walked in 6 hours to Lavra. From Lavra they climbed the top and ended the journey in Sk. Anna.
Bauer made a few landscape drawings such as this one from the westcoast but he was hired to draw plants.
This very nice drawing by English painter Edward Lear (1812-1888) was sold yesterday at Christie’s London for EUR 25.000. It is a study made with pencil and watercolour paint for a later painting. On the paper some text is visible, such as the names of colours and the word Arbutus or Strawberry tree . The words are instructions for himself when making a painting of this sketch.
On more or less the same location Lear made this painting but without the monastery. In my opinion the watercolours are much more interesting then the paintings Lear made.
Look at the fine lines and the soft colours and the texts in the upper corner. Lear made this watercolour on the 2nd of September 1856 standing on the coastal path to Pantocratoros.
In 2015 we had this view on the smallest monastery of the peninsula.
In 2019, low-hanging clouds clung on the mountains, but Stavronikita was clearly in sight. The photograph is taken just outside Pantocratoros.
The enormous skiti Agiou Andreou, with its many domes, emerged from the mist. Though merely a skiti, and belonging to Vatopedi (after the Russian period ended), it is much larger than many other monasteries on the Holy Mountain.
Inside the courtyard one can see a large building with four floors. It is in complete ruins. Pilgrims Herman and Barry wander around in the desolate scenery.
The same ruins from a different angle. Other buildings, as the red chapel, have already been restored. It is not clear what the fate of this building will be; will it be left to the elements or might it be restored? Let’s hope so.
Near one of the entrances of the guesthouse I found some flowering lilacs over a wheelbarrow.
The impressive katholicon to the left. The entrance to the trapeza is nowadays under the church.
After entering through the central gate a square opens. To the right you will find a collection of big bells. To the left – behind some bushes – you can see a fountain that is not working. Black and white stones surround the fountain. The year of erection, 1841, is written with white stones. In those years is was a Russian skiti.
We left the
skiti to go to Stavronikíta. We decided not to take the easy route via Ag.
Nikólaos Bourazeri but instead to take the complicated route north of Andreou.
In the meanwhile the weather changed. The mist concentrated to thick low clouds
that reached to the surface of the earth. And it got wetter.
about skiti Andreou here. And here about the red chapel. For more historical
information read this. About the Russian period see here and there.
Let’s take a closer look within the monastery, starting at the entrance (Δ1 on the Mylonas map above). You will arrive in the first courtyard (A).
After passing the entrance you will find the archondariki or guesthouse on your right hand. In former days the guesthouse was situated in building Z2, K and K1, but it has been replaced to this part of the monastery, building H. The stairs and plants were added later and not drawn on the Mylonas-plan from 2000. The building was previous used by monks, who had their cells here.
These pictures are from the waiting room, where coffee, tsipourou (?) and loukoumi is served. Tow fine icons of Ag. Georgios and Dimitrios hang on the wall. In left a corner you will a small chapel behind closed doors.
These images above the door shows us rarely seen scenes from Ag. Gerasimos (or St. Hieromymus), who lived from 347 to 30th September 420, one of the four great church Fathers.
This is the story depicted on the walls: Gerasimos helped a lion to remove thorns from its paw and after this, to his surprize, the lion became his devoted pet. The lion was given the special task of guarding the communities donkey, which grazed along the Jordan. One day, it happened that, while the lion was napping, the donkey strayed and was stolen by a passing trader. After searching, without success, the lion returned to the monastery, it head hanging low. The brothers concluded that the lion had been overcome and had eaten the donkey and as punishment, gave the lion the job of the donkey; to carry water each from the river to the monastery in a saddle pack with four earthen jars. Months later, it happened that the trader was passing through the Jordan with the stolen donkey and three camels. The lion recognised the donkey and roared so loudly that the trader ran away. Taking its rope in his jaws, the lion led the donkey back to the monastery with the camels following behind. The monks realised that they had misjudged the lion; this is how the lion earned his name “Jordanes” from the Elder Gerasimos.
The next room or exo-narthex, that gives access to both the old church and the trapeza. The scenes resemble the ones in Dionysiou: all are from the book of John and show us the cyclus of the Apocalypse. For an extensive description of the scenes read these posts, starting at nr. 1100.
Wim Voogd, 27-06 (next time more photos from courtyard B)