596 – A trip to Athos (day 3 nr 9)

(last post see 579)
Stavronikita was the last monastery on Athos that I never had the chance to visit or to see close by. I always found that Stavronikita was one the most beautiful monasteries on the Holy Mountain, both because of its architecture and the way it is situated on a rock near the cost. And I was not disappointed, just have a look at the stunning image that we saw when we came near:
We arrived at the same time with a group of Austrian pilgrims, who also were frequent visitors to the Holy Mountain and nearly slept in every monastery (and they were not happy with the last one, Kastamonitou: unfriendly and bad food). Nevertheless the Austrians enjoyed their stay and had a good humor, and we were warmly welcomed by the monk at the gate, who served us hot coffee and raki. The friendly archondáris (or guestmaster) spoke English and he took his time to inform us about our stay in the monastery. What a difference with Pantocratoros just an hour ago ! There was more than enough room in the archondariki and before we were invited to enter the monastery, we got this little card with “Monastery’s-program” on it. I never saw this at any other monastery: very helpfull and “pilgrim-friendly”!
As said, we got a very proper treatment on arriving in Stavronikita, but we got even more satisfied when we saw our rooms, because we obtained a large, clean, 4-person room with a magnificent view over the sea (through a muskito net).
View towards Lavra – Stavronikita 3/5/07
View towards Pantocratoros – Stavronikita 3/5/07
The youngest of the 20 Athos-monastery’s is very well kept and the buildings are neatly painted.
Hallway in the guesthouse – Stavronikita
And what makes a stay at any Athos-monastery more romantic is the (nearly) absence of electricity and the use of old fashioned oil lamps. We were glad to see that here they kept this tradition alive.
But before the evening was over we experienced enough exiting things, but that I will tell you next time.
Wim Voogd, 22/10

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