515 – A trip to Athos (day 3 nr 4)

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 didn’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 € 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 could’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 “religious” 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

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1 Response to 515 – A trip to Athos (day 3 nr 4)

  1. George says:

    Hi Wim, I can confirm that these bells were removed from the enormous bell tower at the entrance of the sketes main church of St. Andrew. (definately not from the deserted Ukraine building near Skiti Provata)I remember ringing these bells on St. Andrews day in 1993 or 1994 with some co-students whilst we were studying at the Athonias Academy. At this time the bells were still hanging in the bell tower. In particular the large bell created a deep thunderous sound which we were later informed was heard clearly at the Skete of Prophet Ilias near Pantocratoros Monastery. The staircase leading up to the clock and bells is very narrow and winding. Its a beautiful church and skete, I cannot wait untill it is returned to its former glory.


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