1684 – the icon painters of Lakkou skiti

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One of the reasons to go to Mount Athos in 2014 was to buy a real Athos-icon. When we told Father Gabriel that we were looking for a good quality icon, he immediately brought us to a room in the large building on the left with the six windows, where on the ground floor a quiet and friendly monk was working in his small icon studio.

DSCN5082 (Large)  The huts of Father Isidor (nr 6 on the map below).

monopati lakkou 1kopieThe blue line shows one of the hikes I walked earlier that morning, and is recorded with GPS. The red line is drawn by me and shows the route we took to go hut nr 1, where the second icon-painter lives (see below). The red line is NOT accurate.

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DSCN5118 (Large)This is the icon-painter of hut nr 6, we forgot to ask his name- what a shame!. He was working on some large panels, that were ordered by a church in Australia.IMG_3757 (Large)One of the three large icons in the studio, with work still in progress (and me).

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SAM_0924DSCN5115 (Large) DSCN5113 (Large) New and old icons decorate the small room.

DSCN5114 (Large)In a corner I saw this painting/drawing of the Vatopedi arsanas (painted the man behind me?), together with the book that every icon painter should have: Erminia Picturii Bizantine by Dionysiou of Fourna, an Eastern Orthodox author of a manual of iconography and painting in the 18th century, who lived on Athos for some years.

DSCN5120 (Large)But Father Gabriel wanted to show us another icon painter in Lakkou, who is said to be the best in this skete. When “our” icon painter heard that we would visit him, he stopped working and decided to come along. He looked very exited to get a chance to visit the ‘master’ painter and was eager to go. Here the monks show us the way over the monopati in Lakkou, walking in the valley between hut nr 6 and nr 5.

SAM_0929Our goal was to walk to hut nr 1.

lakkou situation 2013        lakkou situation 20032013                                                                               2003

This gives me the opportunity to show you how things have drastically changed in the past 10 years in this skete. The houses we wanted to visit (nrs 1 and 2) do not appear on Google maps in 2003. The 2013 photo shows them clearly!

DSCN5121 (Large)Arriving at hut nr 1 of Father Pimen

SAM_0932first I pulled my muddy mountain shoes and

DSCN5128 (Large)we sat down to rest (later with fresh water and coffee).

DSCN5122 (Large) And we were allowed to have a quick look in the small chapel, with very fine new murals

DSCN5129 (Large)A niche with a large icon that fits exactly!

DSCN5127 (Large)Finally Father Gabriel brought us in the room where the icon painter has his studio

DSCN5126 (Large)And here he is: monk Haralambie (from St. Charalambos), a very shy and humble person, who has had lessons in icon painting from the famous Pachomaiou brothers in Karyes.

DSCN5123 (Large)Look at the extraordinary quality of the Christ and the fine lines he painted. My fellow pilgrim Jitze made an agreement to make a Prodromos icon for him, which will be  ready within a year. Can’t wait to see the result!

For contact:


Schitul Lacu
P.O. Box 146, Karyes
63086 Sf. Munte Athos
Tel. mobil: 0030 6946572266

here on YouTube (in Romanian)

and more pictures are here.

Wim Voogd, 25/2

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1 Response to 1684 – the icon painters of Lakkou skiti

  1. Bertinos says:

    On July 25th, at skiti Lakkou, a new chapel will be dedicated to St. Paisios of Athos: https://basilica.ro/en/romanian-church-of-st-paisios-to-be-consecrated-on-mt-athos

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