1855 – Dutch monks on Athos

Sofar we discovered three Dutch monks who lived on the Holy Mountain. All three in Karakalou: Pachomios, K.  and someone unknown.
This is the story of fourth Dutchman on Athos, Hilarion of Xeropotamou.

Guestmonk Pachomios here in the garden of Karakalou with my brother Wim. Originaly he came from the former Dutch colony Surinam but grew up in The Hague, The Netherlands.
andreas-quintenYoung Dutchman K.  stayed several years in the monastery of Karakalou. His story can be read in post 1847. (picture by Micha Geldermans). K.  went to Karakalou in 1994 because  a Dutch monk already lived there. Unfortunately this Dutchman fell from a balcony two days after K.  arrived at the monastery and died! (this story in Koert Ter Veens book Athos Monnikeneiland blz. 281 2001)

.epenhuysen epenhuysen-conducting
Dutch musician and conducter  Jan van Epenhuysen (1906 -2000) of an orchestra (nowadays called Noord Nederlands Orkest ) in the north of the Netherlands retired in 1961 and went to a Orthodox community near Paris and in the late nineteen 60ties to Mount Athos. He was married and had three daughters.hilarionepenhuysen
Jan van Epenhuysen (left in the corner with beard) here at an easter dinner at the Orthodox community of Vanves near Paris in the sixties. He changed his name to Hilarion.xerapotamou-viale xerapotamou-entrance
According to writer Koert ter Veen Van Epenhuysen was known as Hilarion of Xiropotamou. On the photos the courtyard and entrance of this monastery. I assume he spend the rest of his life in this monastery but  I found no more information about him.xerapotamou-prayerAnother image of Xiropotamou in 2013 during the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. epenhuysen-graf
Hilarion died in 2000 at the age of 94. He was probably buried on the Holy Mountain. In the Netherlands there is this  familygrave with a stone:
In rememberance
J. van Epenhuysen
Hieromonk Hilarion
11 sept 1906 – 19 oct 2000

Herman Voogd

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6 Responses to 1855 – Dutch monks on Athos

  1. Surprising to learn that one could become a monk at 60! Thank you again for your always interesting, always educational, always inspiring blog.

  2. Vasílis says:

    There is a fifth Dutch monk: Father Jacob (Ιάκωβος) who has lived at I.M. Símonos Pétras in the last decade of the twentieth century. Koert ter Veen writes about him in his book, p.e. pp 106-114, 265-268.

    • Bertinos says:

      Monk Iakovos (likely “Elias” in the world) was a particular and highly educated man who dedicated himself on Mount Athos to the translation of the writings of Sts. Isaac and Ephraim the Syrians from the original source-texts. All which is know about him is that he was a former theologian and father of two sons who went to Athos at an advanced age.

  3. gerard koolschijn says:

    Thanks for intriguing stories and photo’s

  4. Thomas says:

    Sometime in 1999 or 2000 Father Hilarion of Xeropotamou visited the St. Nicholas Parish in Amsterdam. He was present during the services including the Divine Liturgy. He did not concelebrate the liturgy but he was a priestmonk. A chair was placed for him near the iconostasis. I asked his blessing. Obviously he was quite elderly and the presence of an elder Athonite monk in the then small church was special. He was an impressive figure. I remember the way he stood and carefully removing his monastic head dress for the Our Father.

    One little anecdote… a young parishioner who was a friend of mine and who happened to be contemplating entering the monastic life went to ask Fr. Hilarion’s blessing and Fr. Hilarion immediately asked him, “hoe laat is het?” which literally translates to, “how late is it?” This is of course simply how you ask the time in Dutch. But the young man was surprised and moved by the question and spent a long time contemplating whether Fr. Hilarion was asking him, “what are you waiting for?” The parishioner was from Holland but of Georgian and Dutch parents. He later went to live in Georgia.

    After the service Fr. Hilarion was introduced before those present. It was mentioned that he had family in the Netherlands. A recent Dutch translation of the interview of Motovilov with Saint Seraphim of Sarov was spoken about and displayed, but I could not remember whether a copy of it was presented to him as a gift, or whether he was in the Netherlands on the occasion of the publication of this text.

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