I just finished reading this book. I would reccommend it to everybody, because it gives objective information about the history of the Russians on the Holy Mountain and especially about the Skete of Prophet Elijah. It showes the difficulties when different etnic groups have to live together and the book discribes not only the problems between the Russians and the Greek inhabitants of Athos, but also between Russians themselves (so-called Great Russians (living in Russikon and St. Andrew), Georgians (Iviron until recently) and Kosacs (Prophet Elijah).
The problems after the Russian revolution in 1917 were immense and got greater and greater with the aging of the monks. At the beginning of the First World War 220 monks left to fight with the Russian army, and since then the Skete counted 180 monks. In 1933 only 83 aging old men remained, from which half of them were to old to work.
Finally Skete of Prophet Elijah was taken over by the Greeks in may 1992 after a visit of a exechate of the ecumenical patriarchate and after expelling the last small-Russians with force.
“Great Russians” from Panteleimon in 1917, from Plaatwerk 1986, Paul Robert en Rolf Bos
Nicolas Fennell studied a lot of documents, microfilms and books.
From the accounts we know that the average annual turnover of Skete of Prophet Elijah was a half a million Roubles. The amount spent on food was 5.800 Roubles: but on alcohol the monks spend 7.429 a year! Drinking half a liter wine every day was normal.
When I visited Mount Athos in 1986 I found this banknote in a pile of rubble in a deserted large Russian kellion near Lakou, named “Timiou Stavrou”. (see 192).
10-Rouble note from 1909
The Skete got a lot of money from donations (46.500 in 1914). In the library of the kellion we found thousends of the forms to donate money. You could pay an amount to the monks and the more you paid, the more they would pray for you.
A Russian “Kwitantia” from the deserted kellion “Stavros”
Wim Voogd, 19/9