1628 – the forgotten kelli of Agiou Onoufriou: the interior

In post 1627  I showed you the exterior of the “forgotten” kelli of Agiou Onoufriou. Today I will show the pictures I took inside. The backdoor was not locked but could simply be opened by removing an iron wire. The kelli seemed abandoned. The Russians that once lived there left the building at least a couple of decades ago, concerning the state of maintainance and decay.

Before entering the groundfloor of the building through the side door I had a look through the windows, where a small church/chapel could be seen with an iconostasis and several church chairs.

IMG_2306When entering the building I made three meters: I saw the chapel on my left hand (helas a blurry picture):

IMG_2344To my surprize the chapel looked well kept and maybe still in use, because there is a carpet on the floor, two standards for portable icons, four holders for candle’s and even a piece of cloth that is used during service. The small icons were not painted but photographs and were not of any value, but the ones in the iconostasis were beautiful and handpainted.

IMG_2311The doors in the iconostasis with the Last Supper above them. On the doors six lively and expressive pictures of Petrus, Jesus, and two Holy females, on the right probably the Panaghia and on the left an angel holding flowers. The free style of this icon/painting is extraordinary and this quality I have seldom seen before on Athos.

IMG_2312On the right side of the iconostasis you can see three large painted icons, from left to right Jezus, an unknown Saint and Saint Nicolas. Look at the fine candle holders! Details of six small images above the three large icons are absent.

IMG_2313Left of the central doors of the iconostasis again three large icons, starting with the Panaghia with the child Jezus, a Saint, probably of the doctor Panteleimonos with a red cross, and a third Holy Saint, could it be Saint Peter?

IMG_2314When I turned around I saw this wood stove to heat the room and some chairs (and big cracks in the wall!).

IMG_2347After leaving the chapel I looked at the left and this wooden standard. The floors did not feel save and I was worried to fall through,so I walked step by step.

IMG_2345This is the hallway on the ground floor that lead to the main entrance, which was locked. On both sides three rooms could be found, the first room on my left hand looked like this:

IMG_2315A dirty sleeping room with a stove, and a bed with matras. See how thick the walls of the building are!

I decided to have look on the second floor. Climbing the wooden stairs was again a harzardous enterprize, because I was afraid to fall through the steps. And only my friend in Karakalou knew that I visiting this place, whilst the battery level in my iPhone was becoming dangerously low, so it was a bit scary.

But on arriving on the first the last thing I expected to see was this overwhelmingly large and beautiful church with a golden iconostasis, decorated with numerous icons!

IMG_2316The golden iconostasis in the church on the first floor.

IMG_2317Looking up to the dome I saw these fine murals, with Jezus, God and the Holy Spirit in the center, surrounded by eight Saints, and four Saints surrounding them. Unfortuanately the picture is too blurry to distinguish more details. Maybe the picture below is a little better:



IMG_2319Looking back above the entrance of the church, I saw a cracked ceiling with a large dove – the Holy Spirit – painted on it.

Let’s have a closer look at the icons in the iconostasis, beginning the ones next to the central doors:

IMG_2324Right of the doors: a Jesus icon with a silver coating

IMG_2323Left of the central doors: the Panaghia with the child Jesus, with a gold cover. Both are protected by glass.

IMG_2322On the left door in the iconostasis I saw this outstanding icon of a female angel, in fine purple and light blue colors, holding flowers in her right hand.

IMG_2321On the far right on the outside wall an icon of three Saints, again covered with gold.

IMG_2325On the right side of the iconostasis: an angel with sword and shield, Michael?

IMG_2326At the far end: an icon of two Athonite fathers(?), Peter and Athanasios?

IMG_2329 (Large)Above the central doors: more fine icons, with…

IMG_2329the last supper in detail.

IMG_2330The right side of the iconostasis, with the baptism of Jesus by John the Forerunner in the middle.

IMG_2331The left side of the iconostasis, with more scenes from the bible (the annunciation).

IMG_2327On the left on the outside wall next to a window: a large golden icon seven Holy Saints.

This almost ends the pictures of the interior: next time I will show you the remaining.

Wim, 24/9

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4 Responses to 1628 – the forgotten kelli of Agiou Onoufriou: the interior

  1. David Robles says:

    Greetings! I visited this Kelli in October 2000 with a monk from Philotheou. At that time there were 2 monks living there, a hieromonk and his disciple. I will never forget the impression in my soul when I first entered the church.

  2. Hans Overduin. says:

    First, Wim thanks very much for these very interesting pictures. Second, because the kelli is fully known as “Agion Petrou kai Onoufriou” I think the icon you think represents Peter and Athanasios, depicts the ascetics Peter and Onofriou. They share the same feast-day: June 12. Also, the kelli (or another building on the same spot) was formerly called Skiti Magoula. Please see your own blog nr 795 from May 10th, 2009. See also http://agioritikesmnimes.blogspot.gr/2014/09/5307.html (Greek).

  3. roblesd56 says:

    The monk from Philotheou, and the priest living in the kelli both told me that the long bearded ascetics in the icon are indeed St Onuphrious and St Peter. The priest encouraged me to read their lives and to pray to these particular saints for their protection and blessing.

  4. Sean Surlow says:

    If you ever get back that way, it would be great to see a detailed photo essay with sharp photos. What an amazing place. Thanks for posting…

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