Just before sunset we arrived in Prodromou, the Romanian skete at the edge of the peninsula. We were quiet tired from the afternoon walk from Kavsokalivia via Nilou and the crossing of the stone fall of Megali Sara. The walk ascents from sea-level to 700 meters and descents back to almost sea-level.
While waiting for the archondiriki we witnessed the light change and saw the last sun rays of the day.
A view from the inside of the monastic complex, with the central tower and gate. The large flagstones are nicely surrounded by grass. The buildings are from the mid-19th century. Not very old for Athonian standards.
A closer look at the top of the tower, with the four crosses. The second one leans forward and needs taking care of. The crosses radiate in the last beams of sunlight of the day.
A semantron is placed next to the church and surrounded by large cypresses and a nut tree.
The instructions for playing the carillon are clearly signposted in a fixed sequence. But it is not completely clear to me. I count four handles, but the numbering includes a number 5. Thanks to the sharp eye of Vasilis (read the comment) the 5th handle is in a vertical position up front. We didn’t hear this Glockenspiel play. Or I just don’t remember it.
What we did hear however, just after darkness covered the Holy Mountain, was the howling of the jackals. That impressive sound always make me shudder.
Church service was at ten in the night. The katholicon ( a church in a skete is called Kyriakon) was completely dark when we arrived. Our eyes had to adapt to the sudden darkness. After a while I saw that only one small candle was burning in a smoked glass and not giving a lot of light. But it added to the mysterious atmosphere. There were many silent people inside of the small space. The monks were praying and venerating with verve. Going deeply towards the ground endlessly repeating themselves. An impressive energetic religious work-out. The sound of the rushing robes of the monks in the darkness made a lasting impression on me. Our stay didn’t last very long though. We were send-off as schoolboys after they asked about our beliefs. A no-go for non-Orthodox. A missed opportunity to come closer to Orthodoxy.
The next day, when we left for Lavra, we saw a monk burn some waste on the fields just outside the gate. The scenery reminds of ancient remains, with the dry-stone walls and small stone heaps.
From Prodromou the view of the Holy Mountain is unsurpassable. In the morning light it showed its raw beauty. A gigantic unpolished heap of marble with large patches of snow. From this perspective it is hard to believe we once stood on the very summit. Hopefully that will happen once more in the near future.
The last view of Prodromou before we entered the wooded monopati. So we were on our way to Lavra.