One of the more physical proofs that there has been a woman on Athos is the Pavilion of Princess Mara, born in 1416 and a daughter of a Serbian monarch Đurađ (George) Branković . She married Ottoman Sultan Murad II for political reasons. She is also the mother of the conqueror of Constantinople, Mehmed II. Mara kept, despite her marriage, true to her Christian faith. She donated money and dependencies to the monastery and later, after Constantinople fell, she bestowed the gifts of the Three Magi upon the monastery: a holy relic, an Ottoman loot from the fall of Constantinople.
Legend has it that Mara tried to present the gifts to the monastery herself, but she was stopped on the spot where the pavilion is by a voice from heaven, telling her that a Queen already stays on Mount Athos, the Virgin Mother. This happened after the fall of Constantinople on May 28th 1453.
The year 1470 must be the moment when Mara presented the gifts of the Magi, I presume. The date 1928 is probably the year that the small pavilion is build, also named “Kyra Mara”. I do not know why a clock, carved in stone, appears here. The large hand of the clock points between 8 and 9, the small hand at the 12: what could be the reason?
This painting is inside the pavilion: Princess Mara presenting the three gifts to the monks: “no place for secular rulers”.
Two icons, the other half of the painting and some objects inside the pavilion.
Wim Voogd, 9-12-2019