1993 – Skiti Agia Anna

When we arrived at the skiti Agia Anna we found it lively and busy. There were quite a few pilgrims. We sat down at the covered outside table and were pleasantly surprised by the traditional welcome: Greek coffee, water, tsipourou, and loukoumi.

The carpets were cleaned outside the guest house.On the ridge of the triangular square are stone seats and a fixed semantron.Not so very long ago, in Oktober 2001, the same place looked a bit different. Picture taken by Raymond Geldermans.Just right of the semantron is a little fountain, decorated with a vase full of flowers. The terrace delivers a fantastic view over the sea.In the little chapel I burned a candle and thought about the loved ones that died in the year before. It is a special little corner for me. Coming down from the summit of Mount Athos in October 2011 we slept here in Agia Anna and I burned a candle on the same spot.

The fresco’s show an amazing variety of abstract patterns. The church was built by Patriarch Dionysius Vardalis in 1666. That makes Agia Anna the oldest skiti on Athos.Just outside of the gate is a sign guiding you to Nea Skiti and the monastery Paulou. High above it a large bell tower. The water system looks improvised.

The skiti is also the largest on Mount Athos. There are fifty cells and about 85 monks. The Skiti belongs to Lavra, where we just came from, but is quite a long walk away.And on our way again, to Nea Skiti, where we hoped to spend the night. The yellow plant is a Ferula NodifloraI remembered the same scene, probably painted from the same spot by the Russian painter Belyukin. The work of art is called “the daybreak at Saint Anne couvent”. See more of his work here.Only recently I gave a photographic impression of our arrival at Skiti Anna. Now I found another similarity.This drawing of Ferdinand Bauer (1760 – 1826), from Austria, shows about the same situation in 1786-1787. Many houses have been erected since. The bell tower and the church are clearly present. But if you take a closer look at the picture you can see several houses. This drawing is from a series called Mediterranean scenes, that was never published but in the frontispiece of the Flora Graeca there is an image that was made after this drawing.  The long horizontal building on the recent picture houses the donkeys. The red building under the bell tower is the guesthouse, that you see up close in the first photo of this blog.

Bas Kamps

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