2264 – a drone footage of skiti Panteleimonos and the cell of Ag. Paisios

The cell of Ag. Paisios next to the valley of Koutloumousiou 02-08-2020 – photo by monk T.

This latest footage of monk T., already made in 2020, shows us unique images of rarely visited skiti of Ag. Panteleimonos (also called skiti Koutloumousiou) and of the famous and often visited the cell of Saint Paisios, that lies closeby on the other side of the valley, near the monopati that leads to Iviron.

The drone footage made by monk T on August 2nd 2020

The area that the drone flew over, Google maps, source https://agionorosroutes.blogspot.com/. The yellow line is the path from Karyes/Koutloumousiou to Iviron.
A cell at the edge of skiti Panteleimonos and the Panagouda cell of Saint Paisios in the background, 02-08- 2020 / photo by monk T.
The tiny bell tower of skiti Panteleimonos and the cell of Ag. Ioannis Prodromos

This skiti is rarely visited by pilgrims, because most hikers take the monopati that lies on the other side of the valley and that leads to Iviron, and of course, the famous cell of Saint Paisios, with the characteristic chairs in the garden, made of felled trees. This place would be another target for a next visit to the Holy Mountain!

Skiti Panteleimonos on Google maps, source https://agionorosroutes.blogspot.com/

For pilgrims who have plans to go to Athos, please have a look at our reservation post nr 1835, because there have been some updates with new information.

Wim. Voogd, 21/3/2023

Posted in 06 Koutloumousiou, skiti | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2263 – FoMA footpath team 2022 – part 2: the path from Vatopedi towards Esfigmenou

a part of the route:: the paths we cleared on 26th of September

On Monday, September 26, 2022, our team started our first mission, clearing the path between Vatopedi and Esfigmenou. After waking up at 6am and having breakfast at 6.30am specially made for our team, we got a lift from a grumpy Greek driver, who couldn’t understand why we had to go up the hill, thinking we had can start working on the trails from below, near the monastery (it would have taken us an hour to walk up the hill to our starting point!). Anyway, we finally reached our spot to start our day cutting down and removing obstacles such as bushes and trees, to ensure that pilgrims can have a good and safe walk on the Athos hiking trails.

But before I continue describing the work on our first day, I would like to share a webinar where two of our prominent members of the FoMA footpath team attended, Chris Thomas and Peter Desmond, which took place in February 2022. In this video of a webinar from the Anglo-Hellenic League, viewable on YouTube, the story of the FoMA footpath team is told. What I didn’t know was that (at the time) Prince Charles played an active role in the foundation of the footpath team in 2004, 18 years ago. He asked the members of FoMA to set up a team of footpath cleaners to preserve and maintain the Athos trails. He even helped a team in 2004, as you can see in the photos below, which I ‘took’ from the video.

The FoMA footpath team: Chris Thomas and Peter Desmond

Prince Charles joining the FoMA footpath team in 2004

Father Mathew from Vatopedi discribed our mission as follows in simple words: “make shure that a monk on a donkey can pass the paths smoothly”. With that simple task in mind we put on our work gloves and took our loppers and saws and started working.

2022: a kalderimi with cobblestones

Most kalderimi, these are the wider paths that have been paved with cobblestones in the passed centuries, do require much work, although sometimes you have to remove fallen trees or the most annoying plants, the broom plants with their vicious thorns – see photo below.

Cytisus lanigerus – broom
working at a path near a the FoMA sign to Chilandariou / Esfigmenou
10 o’clock: a break with the famous coffee of Bart Janssens, our team leader
the Greek airforce flying over the peninsula
A view over the Vatopedi bay, with Mount Athos in the background
panorama photo of this area
12:50 pm Here we are half way through our mission, at the place where the monopati stopped in the forest and where bare rocks appears on the path that leads further down to Esfigmenou (with a broken sign on the ground to Vatopedi!).
The team on our way down to Vatopedi: Lucas, Daniel, Justin and Bart
back at the coast near Vatopedi: doesn’t the rock in the sea look like a sfinx?
the path continues along the coast: I learned from the webinar as mentioned above that special teams of Greek volunteers try to focus only on cleaning the beaches and removing the plastic. This beach has not been visited yet….. At 3.30 pm we were back at the monastery, after a walk of almost 13 km

Unfortunately the old trapeza of Vatopedi is being renovated while we were there, so dinner was served at 5:30 pm in a cellar near the kitchen: that night we got spaghetti with tomato sauce without oil, but with olives and fruit (not wine but fruit juice) . Let’s not forget to mention Father Mathew’s hot sauce made from the Carolina Reaper pepper, the hottest pepper in the world: just 5 drops of it in my spaghetti and it almost killed me too!

In the middle: the Carolina Raeper sauce of father Mathew

Wim Voogd, 14-3-2023

Posted in 02 Vatopedi, food, Trip 2022, walking | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2262 – a drone footage of three towers of Mount Athos

Video made by Monk T on 5th of March/May 2021

This footage is made by monk T and shows three towers of the Holy Mountain: the first one is Palaiopyrgos, the ruins of an old tower between the arsanas of Sografou and Konstamonitou, for more information read this post on our weblog: 2221. The second tower is the one of Karakallou on the East coast. also see post 2127. And the last tower is the Amalfi tower, near Morfonou beach, a remnant of an old Katholic monastery, that once stood on this spot (before 1054?).

For more infomation about the towers on Athos I can recommand this book: The Towers of Mount Athos from 2001 and this collecters item with woodprints from all towers.

Wim Voogd, 7-3-2023

Posted in 11 Karakallou, arsanas | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

2261 – a new site with routes for hikers on Mount Athos

Athos friend Vasílis found this new (since October 2022) and excellend site, agionorosroutes.blogspot.com, with 70 detailled walking routes on the Holy Mountain, shown in Google maps. All tracks can by seen with satellite images. The text is in Greek, but with Google Translate it is very easy accesable and readable. You can also download a free Google Earth map with lots of information about almost all settlements and buildings on Athos.

With this text the author/maker introduces his site:

In this blog you can find the main hiking routes for Mount Athos. More will be added along the way. The times listed for these routes are calculated for slow walking. Each route has a map and brief directions since you can follow your trail on the map (if there is a mobile phone signal) there is no need for detailed directions. The maps are made to be viewed on google maps in the satellite view setting.  You can search for the routes in alphabetical order at the bottom of the page or by section on the right.

This site can be very helpful in planning your route for a hike on the Holy Mountain. You can click on the route you want to walk and zoom in on Google maps. It also includes a description.

the route from Agia Anna to the top of Mount Athos

The (anonymous) Greek author also published a (free) PDF in Greek with information about the monasteries (and email adresses!).

Mister X, keep up the good work and thanks for sharing it!

Wim Voogd,

Posted in walking | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2260 – a drone footage of Ag. Vasiliou, arsanas Chilandariou and the Milutin tower

Drone footage made by monk T on March 5th 2021

In post 2217, published on August 18th 2021, I showed you all drone photos made by monk T made of this small settlement. In September 2013 we payed a visit to this lovely place, where we were welcomed by a friendly Serbian monk who showed us the place (for more information and pictures have a look at post 1610).

The footage that monk T shot shows such a wonderfull part of Athos. Besides the fact that the fields are cultivated with vines, the beach and the area are in such a pristine state, as if time has stood still here. I’ve often wondered how it could have looked like, if this part a the world hadn’t been inhabited by monks for more than 1000 years. Probably the beach would have overcrowded with tourists and a large four-star hotel complex with swimming pool and bars would have been build here. Enjoy the video!

Wim Voogd, 24-2-2023

Posted in 04 Chilandariou, films | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2259 – the Abbots of all Athos monasteries

Our dear Athos friend Vasílis de Grote publishes very interesting information about Athos on Facebook. With his permission I have reproduced this list of abbots, hegoúmenos in Greek, which he published on 12 February. The reason for starting this list was that he found a black and white photo of the special moment of the enthronement of the longest serving abbot on Athos, hegoúmenos Parthenios of Ag. Pavlou on December 15, 1974, so he has been head of the monastery now for 48 years (and he is 91 years old? – number 14 on the list).

15-12-1974 Ag. Paulou: Gerontas Parthénios is the third person from the left
Gerontas Parthénios: photo from February 2023 (source: 0rthodoxianewsagency.gr)
  1. Megistas Lavras – Prodromos (born xxx?): since 2000 – 22 years
  2. Vatopediou – Efrem (born 5-6-1956/66 years old): since 1990 – 32 years
  3. Iviron – Nathaniel (xxx): since 2005 – 17 years
  4. Chilandariou – Methodios (born 7-1-1970/52 years old): since 2010 – 12 years
  5. Dionysou – Petros (xxx): since 1989 – 33 years
  6. Koutloumousiou – Nikolaos (xxx): since 2020 – 2 years
  7. Pantocratoros – Gabriel (xxx): since 2001- 21 years
  8. Xiropotamou – Joseph (xxx): since 1985 – 37 years
  9. Sografou – Ambrosios (xxx): since 1997 – 25 years
  10. Docheiariou – Amfilochios (born 1961/61 years old): since 2018 – 4 years
  11. Karakallou – Filothéos (xxx): since 1981 – 41 years
  12. Filotheou – Nikodimos (xxx): since 2001 – 21 years
  13. Simonos Petras – Elisaios (xxx): since 2000 – 22 years
  14. Ag. Paulou – Parthenios (born 1931? – 91 years old?): since 1974 – 48 years
  15. Stavronikita – Tichon (xxx): since 1990 – 32 years
  16. Xenofontos – Alexios (xxx): since 1976 – 46 years
  17. Grigoriou – Christoforos (xxx): since 2014 – 8 years
  18. Esfigmenou (new – konaki Karyes) – Bartholomeos (born 1973/49 years old): since 2013 – 9 years
  19. Esfigmenou (old – monastery) – Methodios (xxx): since 1991 – 31 years
  20. Panteleimonos “- Evlogios (xxx): since 2016 – 6 years
  21. Konstamonitou – Charalampos (xxx): since 2018 – 4 years

The Holy Mountain has 20 monasteries, Esfigmenou is mentioned twice because of historical (and obvious) reasons.

Below you can find the portrets/photos of some of these abbots (from my archive and the internet):

nr 1: abbot Prodromos from M. Lavra
2. abbot Ephraim Vatopedi (1997 – photo WV)
4. abbot Methodios Chilandariou 2010
5. abbot Petros Dionysiou
7. abbot Gabriel Pantocratoros
8. abbot Joseph Xeropotamou
10. abbot Amfilochios Docheiariou
11. Abbot Philotheos Karakallou (photo Monk T)
12. Abbot Elisaios Simonas Petras 10-4-2007 (photo monk T)
13. abbot Parthénios Ag. Paulou
17. abbot Christoforos Grigoriou
15. abbot Tycon Stavronikita
18. Bartholomeos Esfigmenou (Karyes)
20. abbot Charalampos Konstamonitou

Wim Voogd, 20-2-2023

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 | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

2258 – a drone footage of Vatopedi and unique images of the ruins of the Kolitsou tower

Once again I am in the privileged position to show unique images of Athos. This time my much appreciated friend Monk T made drone images of the well-known monastery Vatopedi, where I stayed for a week with my friends from the FoMA in September 2022. But this in not all, because Monk T also made very unique aerial shots of the Kolitsou tower, never shown before on the internet. In post 1996 of this weblog I showed you the pictures of my visit to this tower in 2018.

5-10-2022: an aerial view of the East coast of Mount Athos, seen from the tower of Kolitsou (below) and with Vatopedi monastery in the background (drone photo by Monk T)
A detail of the coastline from the map of Peter Howorth
5-10-2022: Vatopedi monastery (drone photo by Monk T)
5-10-2022: Vatopedi monastery (drone photo by Monk T)
5-10-2022: the Kolitsou tower and the Eastern coastline of Athos, with the Holy Mountain (drone photo by Monk T)
5-10-2022: the Kolitsou tower (drone photo by Monk T)
5-10-2022: two pictures of the interior the Kolitsou tower, seen from above (drone photo by Monk T)
5-10-2022: a glimpse through what used to be a window of the Kolitsou tower (drone photo by Monk T)
5-10-2022: the surroundings of the area, with the Kolitsou tower, left above it the Rumenian Kolitsou settlement and on the right, along the road, the new Georgian kellion (drone photo by Monk T)

Thanks again to Monk T for being so helpful, so we can post this unique material (and I have more (drone) content from him, so you can expect more videos in the near future!)

Wim Voogd, 15/2/2023

Posted in Chomitsa | 2 Comments

2257 – a drone footage of the Athonias Academy

5-10-2022: the aqueduct to the Athonias Academy by Monk T
5-10-2022 The ruins of the Athonias Academy from the air by Monk T
5-10-2022 The ruins of the Athonias Academy from the air by Monk T
5-10-2022 The ruins of the Athonias Academy from the air by Monk T
5-10-2022 The ruins of the Athonias Academy from the air by Monk T
The ruins of the Athonias Academy from the air by Monk T
5-10-2022 The ruins of the Athonias Academy from the air by Monk T: the leftover of wall on left has some kind of antenna?
5-10-2022: the fish farms of Vatopedi seen from the air by Monk T
5-10-2022: Vatopedi monastery seen from the air by Monk T

Wim Voogd, (again) thanks to Monk T, ever so helpfull for beautiful content!

Posted in 02 Vatopedi, ruins | Tagged , | 1 Comment

2256 – the ruins of the Athonias or Athonite academy

The Athonias was founded in 1749 and the first building was erected on the top of a hill northeast of Vadopedi, where its imposing ruins still exist today. In the beginning it was well known because of the progressive educational methods of Eugenios Voulgaris, the director of the Athonias from 1753–1759. However, conservative circles of Mount Athos were encouraged to come out openly against the progressive educational methods of Voulgaris. By the end of the 18th century the rate of literacy in Mount Athos had declined and the traditional local circles became hostile towards the progressive teaching in the Athonias. Already 72 later, in 1821, the Athonias was closed, when the Greek War of Independence broke out. It reopened in 1845 in Karyes. Since 1821 the large building slowly fell in ruins….. On the drawing below you can see how it once looked (also have a look here).

Drawing of the the Athonias in 1821
The ruins in present days
The hill with the Athonite academy, seen from above on May 17th 2017

During my last visit to the Holy Mountain together with the Friends of Mount Athos I could visit the ruins and take a short hike from Vatopedi to Athonias (on Sunday afternoon 25th of September 2022).

Part of he hike we made on 25th of September 2022.
The surroundings of Vatopedi and Athonias with the vineyard of the Five Martyrs – from the Peter Howorth map
The Pende Martyres vineyards – the grapes had just been harvested
Further down in the sea: six round nets flote on the surface (with fresh fish in it?)

Before going to the the ruins of the Athonias, you’ll see the aqueduct that provided fresh water from the opposite hill:

The beginning of the aqueduct, where the fresh water came in
The aqueduct
Looking up: the ruins on top of the hill
The South wall: what used to be the entrance door
Inside the Athonias: left from the entrance a part of the second floor still stands
Inside the Athonias: right from the entrance, with Vatopedi below
Inside the Athonias: the Western wall
Inside the Athonias: the premises are largely overgrown (Western wall)
The Eastern wall (North side)
The Eastern wall (South side)
The chapel of Agios Eliou: once a year they celebrate a service here.
The interior of the chapel: a shot through the closed window
My fellow pilgrims: Tjeu, Bart and Lukas from Belguim
The chapel with a pile of stones and the Eastern wall behind it
The South and West wall, towards the entrance
A wooden beam survives, even after 273 years!
Detail of a window arch with baked bricks
Looking down at Vatopedi monastery from the Athonias hill

Wim Voogd, 30-12-2022

To all our readers: we wish you a healthy and peacefully new year, maybe we will meet once on the Holy Mountain (in September 2023?)

the Athos weblog team:

Herman Voogd

Bas kamps and

Wim Voogd

Posted in 02 Vatopedi, ruins, Trip 2022 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2255 – December 1st: 2022 heavy rains on Mount Athos / Dionysiou

This footage by IMDLEO.GR shows a sudden storm on December 1st 2022 near the monastery Dionysios on Mount Athos. You see the water storage tank that prevents the plaza from flooding and protects the shoreline from the swirling water and floating forest logs. The river has almost overflowed in places, but the built waterworks have proven their worth. The storm was part of a low-pressure area called Ariel, which brought many downpours and thunderstorms in parts of Greece.

Thanks Vasilis on Facebook.

Wim Voogd, 11-12-2022

Posted in 05 Dionysiou, nature | Tagged , | Leave a comment