- Approaching Skiti AndreouComing from Maroudá we walked down to Skiti Andreou. Leaving the wooded area this is the first encounter with the impressive domescape of the former Russian monastic settlement with its golden crosses.The cypresses seem to compete with the domes. Andreou depends on Vatopediou. That monastery allowed two Russian monks in the Andreou, that was still called a cell in 1841. Since that time it was Russian. It started to grow to become an enormous skete with up to 800 Russian monks. After the revolution the decline started. The last Russian monk died in 1971. It was deserted. But the Greeks moved in from the early nineties. Now there are about 20 monks in the skete.There is still a nice stretch of monopati to the entrance of the complex that avoids the main road to Karyes, that looks like a broad concrete runway.The main entrance with its nice worn-out marble patterns.
2. The bells of Skiti Andreou.One of the first things that comes in view after the gate are the enormous bronze church bells along the path. They might be hung in the bell tower after the completion of the extensive restauration works.The church on the right is not very old. But it used to be the biggest in the Balkans. It measures 30 m in height and 60 meters in length. According to an inscription His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich, fourth son of Tsar Alexander II of Russia laid the first stone of this Church on June 6, 1867. The Grand Duke was then 17 years old. He would make it to a naval commander, a general-admiral. After the humiliating defeat against the Japanese fleet (the battle of Tsushima) in 1905 he was relieved of his duties and spend the rest of his life in Paris. The church building was finished in 1900.
The Grand Duke in his youth.
In 2015 the situation was quite different when Wim took this picture.On the other site of the katholikon some more and smaller clockwork can be seen. The ear protectors suggest the sound can be loud and can be potentially damaging to the hearing capacity. Good to see that people take care for safety at work. Also on Athos.