In 1980 monk Apollo moved in Monastery of Docheiariou in Mount Athos. In spring 1986 his monastery had remained without telephone for over five months, something not unusual on Mount Athos. One of the monks was injured in his eye but they went to the Hospital after 2 days because of lack of communications. When Mr Georgiadis (SV2RE), an ophthalmology professor, heard the story, he recommended that somebody in the monastery become an amateur radio operator, in order to guarantee communication in case of emergency. So in 1988 Monk Apollo obtained his radio amateur license and the call SV2ASP. He needed 2 more years to get the license from Holy Council. Finally he was on the air for first time in 1990. He celebrated his 10 years on the air with the call SY2A in 2000 and he was trying to find some free time to be on the air when his monastic duties allowed him.
Read more about his live and career here and here.
Thanks to Martijn Reneman.
Wim Voogd, 27/8
DXing in mt.Athos is a matter of much controversy all these years and unfortunately with some sad events that quite a few people from the ham world might be aware of…
The Holy Community has never officially allowed any radio amateurs to legally operate from inside the area, hence the contacts from all over the world with fater Apollo (π.Απολλώ, mind the punctuation) were very rare and very sought after by those who collected cards to confirm their contacts…
Unfortunately after his death, although there are now several other monks who have succesfully taken the ham radio qualification exams, have the equipment and can transmit, they don’t have the permission to do so from the Holy Community. Legally speaking neither did father Apollo had official permit to operate as a Ham, as he was only given permission from the HC to transmit in case of emergency and of matters regarding the safety of mt.Athos.
Lets hope the situation will change somehow, and that we will see all these new ham-monks to operate from Athos and continue the work of father Apollo. But the Holy Community is the one that has to be convinced first and give the permission and this is a very difficult issue…
You can read more about this situation on a recent post of f.Iakovos here:
This foto was taken in 2012 and is me walking towards the mast.
We were lucky that we met Monk Apollo me SV2GWY, Paul N6PSE and David K3LP.