30 years ago I began my second Athos pilgrimage: after recieving our Diamoniterion in Karyes we started out to reach the monastery of Karakalou.Looking back at Karyes and KoutloumousiouOn this spot we took a rest and drank some water from a well, not knowing that on this day the Tjernobyl nuclear accident did occur. We thought we drank the most pure and healthy water you could imagine, while walking on the Holy Mountain, that was preserved against development for over a 1000 years.
Remember that 1986 was a pre-internet and cell phone time, so only a week afterwards we heard about the disaster. Luckily the wind did not bring much of the fallout to Greece/Mount Athos, but it showed how fragile we are with nuclear technology.
But even on Mount Athos, where time stands still, many things changed since 1986: What about the Zygou monastery near the border, then called Frankocastro?And the border near Zygou looked very different.The border at the other side, Komitsa in 1986.And the harbour of Sografou.And what about the Panteleimonos monastery at that time, nowadays almost completely renovated because of the celebrations in 2016.And here, in the Epistatia building, you had to get your Diamoniterion and collect your ID/passport from the “Politarchos”.Blacksmith-monks (near Filotheou) gave us a fantastic lunch – together with Pieter Voorn.Bread, olives, cheese, peppers, lettuce and wine, who needs more?Tsipourou at Dionysiou – photo Pieter VoornMonk and cat at Dionysiou 1986 – photo Pieter VoornDafni 1986