1664 – The “battle” of Gregoriou

After service and breakfast the elder monks returned to their rooms. It still was the start of the last day of the year. The young ones lingered in the snow. When one monk started the fight from the balcony, the whole court yard was suddenly on fire. Monks throwing snow balls at each other, at the pilgrims and at anything moving. They did it with great enthusiasm. Serious men in black suddenly became innocent children again. That is what a patch of snow can trigger in a man. Even in holy men. Some of the elder monks took pictures. There were cheers and laughter after each full hit. Pilgrim Herman was heavily involved in the fight firing from the balcony on the first floor. Despite the ample shelter he received some hits on the head. The monks on the square showed excellent throwing skills, despite the lack of exercise. It was the first snow since seven years, so I heard. The battle died down only because of the lack of ammunition on the first floor. All the snow had been used. Everybody went back to their rooms as if nothing had happened. It was quite an unique experience.
Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.44.04A preliminary shelling before breakfast. Spot the flying snow ball.
Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.45.10The ground battle in full operation. Every hit was accompanied by loud laughter.
Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.45.44Pilgrim Herman and his son pilgrim Nathan in the head of the battle. Herman is preparing a snow ball in his hands. A monk takes pictures. It is just before Herman is hit by a “sniper”  from the court yard.
Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.46.37Pilgrim Herman is hit in his face and on his cap by a white projectile. He points at the monk who did it, the perpetrator. Pilgrim Martijn watches the scene with great amusement. The amphora was also hit.
Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.46.15Some of the monks threw with great power and skill their snow balls to the first floor. His body language shows the intensity of his throwing. He had no problem reaching the first floor and hitting pilgrim Herman.
Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.47.13The air strikes. This picture was taken near the end of the fight when the ammunition got sparse and the battle died down. The wooden corridor was full of scattered snow from disintegrated snow balls. Not quite what we expected before the start of our walk to Dionysiou.
Bas Kamps

Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.49.26      Schermafbeelding 2015-01-19 om 16.48.47
These are the photo’s I took.
It was fun and a once in a lifetime experience. Especially while before breakfast when the battle wasn’t started yet, two monks were already throwing at each other on the courtyard. When I pepared my snowball to join in and threw it at them, they stopped immediately , looked up to me at the balcony and gave me a stern look, raising a finger saying without words: This is not allowed. But as you can see clearly on the photo’s half an hour later they could not resist the fresh snow. Good for them!
Herman Voogd

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5 Responses to 1664 – The “battle” of Gregoriou

  1. Vasílis says:


  2. Patty Martinovich says:

    Love the photos and the experience! Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. Aleksandar says:

    excuse me if I knew someone would say that the mail in the Monastery Gregoriou that I could seek blessings for entry

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