2052 – Koutloumousiou revisited

After a short walk in the fog from Karyes we reached the monastery of Koutloumousiou. The first monastery we visited in our 2019 pilgrimage. In the archonidiriki we didn’t see the young German speaking monk who had taught us about Das Ungeschaffenes Licht (the uncreated light) during our last visit. He then told a very complicated history of the Universe that we didn’t really understand. He told it with enduring enthusiasm though. No lessons learned this time.

A mug and a Grave stele

So we roamed around in the courtyard. I was struck by a detail in the wall, not far from the main entrance. A mug bricked-in the wall. You can find quite a number of colourful plates in the walls of monasteries, but this mug was the first one we saw. I found it a funny surprise. Humour in an unsuspected place. I imagined the mason putting his coffee mug in the soft cement. The other object in the wall is pre-Christian, fourth century B.C. A sitting (deceased) woman takes something out of a box held by a woman standing in front of her. Herman has written in 2018 about this Grave Stele.

The cup is a nice addition to the details of Kouloumousiou I presented in December 2017.

Courtyard with chapel and church

In front a chapel and the oxblood red main church in the centre of the inner space. Meanwhile the mist had changed into a light drizzle.


From the first floor there is a nice perspective of the church. The hammer awaits the moment that a monk will beat the semantron, and calls for service.

Koutloumisiou tower

The mediaeval tower from the early 16th century (according to J.J. Norwich) is tucked away in a corner of the courtyard. The slippery wet slope leads to the first floor and the semantron.


A detail of the back of the red Katholikon.

Monk with Camellia

A monk passes. He seemed not aware of his surroundings. He passed the crimson Camellia without noticing it.


Quite a recent fresco of the monastic complex. The main building and some sketes belonging to Koutloumousiou. It is dated and signed in the lower right end. When I enlarge the picture I can see the year 1992. The Thonet chairs are waiting for chatting with the monks after the service.


At the side of the church we found this fresco with a saint and a lot of text. Both on the wall as on a stone in front of the wall. Does anybody know what it is all about?

I will end this post with the wise remarks of Abbot Chariton of Koutloumousiou (fourteenth century) who called the Athonian peninsula “the eye of the Universe”. (Victoria Della Dora, 2011). That was well spoken.

Bas Kamps

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