On previous trips to Athos I passed Skiti Andreou several times, but I never had the change to have a look inside. The first time in 1980 it looked so deserted and uninhabited, that I did not have the nerve to go and have a look. On a next visit it showed out that I didnâ€™t have enough time to pay a visit and 11 years ago it was clear that somebody at least started renovating the building, because then I saw a large collection of bronze bells lying in front of the entrance. But again I did not have a look inside the complex. So in 2007 – at last – I got the opportunity to visit this large Russian Skiti.
After passing the parking in Karyes you will soon see (after 500 m.) the immense buildings, nowadays surrounded by scaffoldings and a lot of workman, who are busy renovating the church and large parts of the Skiti.
In the entrance building there is a little shop. Here you see a monk who just sold a carved wooden icon of Jezus for â‚¬ 50,00, so I can imagine he lookes happy!
The biggest church in the Balkan is renovated completely and painted over in white, according to the Russian style of decorating of the interior.
The guesthouses are open again, but I couldâ€™t make out if everybody could use them or that only (Russian or orthodox) pilgrims were allowed to sleep here. As later showed out during our visit to Skiti Prof. Eliou not everybody could enjoy the hospitality (later more about this Skiti).
In front of the church you will find a grave of abbot (?).
Not the whole complex is renovated yet: some 15 years ago you could still see buildings standing in this part of the Skiti, ans this is how it looks now:
The bells that 10 years ago were lying outside the gate are now moved to the courtyard. I was wondering if one of these bells could be the one I saw in the deserted Ukraine building near Skiti Provata ? (see post nr 187, 188, 192) – An adventure on the Holy Mountain part I, II an III).
Back in Karyes I saw three young monks, who had the time of their life by doing some intensive â€œreligiousâ€ shopping.
and I will finish this post with two black and white pictures from Karyes, main square,
and with old buildings in decay:
Wim Voogd, 15 juli