2206 – postcards from Athos: part two

In part one – post 2205 – I showed you the postcards I found on the internet of Karyes and the first eight monasteries. In part two the next monastery is:

09 Sografou

Sografou, 1917, made by Zepdji photographe, Editeur Rollet Lyon, visé Paris nr 3046 and 251, in French

This is fourth postcard from Zepdji. Until now I discovered three other postcards made by Zepdji in 1917: one from Vatopedi (see last post), one from Docheiariou and one from Karakallou. These postcards are made during World War I, when Athos was under the occupation of a French/Russian army, as we will notice from the written text on the backside of this postcard.

28 May 1917, almost 104 years ago: a French text on the backside of the postcard

My French is not good but in the middle of the text I can read this: “je suis en bonne santée” and “hier nous avons de bombardes par les aviont” etc. meaning something like: “I am in good health” and “yesterday we have been bombared by airplanes”. Who can help translating the complete text? (thanks DD from France for translating the complete text: read his comment).

Most photographs from the Sografou monastery are made from the hill opposite the monastery and show us the West wing, with on the left the annex where the kitchen just be (at least in 1980).

Sografou, date unkown, in Greek and English, black and white picture

On this postcard, probably made later then 1917, another annex is added one floor higher to the West wing of the monastery. Left is the North wing, with the entrance. On the top of the oval protruding part in the West wing is the trapeza (with a dome).

Sografou, date unkown, in full color
Sografou, date unknown, aerial photo

Next to the gate in the North wing, you seen long streched building, where the archondariki is situated. Nowadays it is completely renovated and luxurious. The other houses are for workers/laymen.

Sografou, date unknown

On this postcard you can see the roof of the trapeza with its dome and on the right the katholicon. On the foreground the South wing of the monastery. This picture is probably shot from the opposite hill with a telelens.

10 Docheiariou

Docheiariou, postcard from 24-11-1918, made by P. Zepdji by Rollet, Lyon, in French and English

Although this postcard has been published before in post 1065, I added it again because I want to bring all the Zepdji postcards together. This one differs from the other because it had no numbers on it and also is in English. Could it a be (illegal) copy of the original?

Docheiariou, date unknown, in color

Photo taken from the sea with the arsanas buildings

Docheiariou, date unknown, in color

This photo is almost identical to the previous, taken from a slight different angle.

Docheiariou, date unknown, in color

Here the tree in front of the boat house has been felled and new tree grows next to the house on the right: a picture taken in a later year probably.

Docheiariou, date unknown, aerial photo
Docheiariou, date unknown, aerial photo

Aerial photo, with building activities/scaffolds at the boat house. The pier has been enlarged and a small one has been added, to create a tiny harbor. Luckily the ugly red construction crane is not this postcard. I do not know when they put it next to he North wall, from 2007 until now I have been spotting this disfiguring red monster. Is it allowed to let stand there, in Unesco heritage site, for more then a decade?

Photo by Wim Voogd, 2007

11 Karakallou

Karakallou, 1917, made by Zepdji photographe, editeur Rollet, Lyon, visé Paris nr 3042 and 199, in French: with the text: “Souvenier d’Oriente Jamet?es?”

The text on this card resembles the text that was used by soldier “Pierre” on his postcard of Vatopedi in 1917, which I showed you in part one of post 2205, postcard nr 12. Could they have known each other as a soldier of the French army and copied each others massages on the front of the postcard?

Karakallou, 1917, made by Zepdji photographe, editeur Rollet, Lyon, visé Paris nr 3042 and 199, in French: with the text: “pouvoir tu ? ? quelques ? ? ?

Another Zepdji postcard from 1917, with another French partially legible text on the postcard: “pouvoir tu ? ? quelques ? ? ?”. The photo shows the North wall of the monastery. In the background you can probably see kellion Timiou Stavrou.

Karakallou, date unknown, color

On this postcard the South and East wall is photographed.

12 Filotheou

Philotheou, date unknown, in Greek and French, colered

On this postcard the South and East wall, with the gate, is photographed.

Filotheou, date unknown, aerial photo, color

Much has changed in the meantime, as you see on the 3D model from Google earth below. In the empty corner left a building (S/W corner) has been added and lower part of the opposite wing has been transformed in a two floor building(North wing).

3D model of Filotheou from Google Earth: the South and West walls.

13 Simonospetras

Simonospetras, 1935, black and white
Simonospetras, date unknown, in full color
Simonospetras, date unknown, in full color

The three postcards are almost identical, only the climbing plant on the right wall in the first photo is smaller.

14 Agiou Paulou

Agiou Paulou, date unknown, colored, in Greek and French
Agiou Paulou, date unknown, full color
Agiou Paulou, date unknown, full color

Three postcards from the same spot/angle, almost identical to each other. The facade and the the buildings at the entrance have been altered and the large pine tree in front of the kiosk has been felled or has fallen.

15 Stavronikita

Stavronikita, 1984, in color, with a monk and a small boat, a Greek kaik, on the foreground
Stavronikita, date unknown, in color: East and South walls
Stavronikita, date unknown, aerial photo, in color

Stavronikita is my favorite monastery, one of the only remaining, without electricity inside the monastery. Nothing has changed here until today, luckily.

16 Xenofontos

Xenofontos, date unknown

This postcard shows the long Eastern wall of the monastery: the right part of this wall does not contain buildings, as is common with Athos monasteries. Until recently the North wall also only consisted of a wall, but nowadays part is filled by a new building (more information in post 2062). In the background the islands of Amouliani appear and the Greek mainland in the North.

Xenofontos, date unknown, black and white, in French and English: “Visé Paris, nr 69 = ND Phot.”
Xenofontos, date unknown, aerial photograph
Xenofontos, date unknown, West wall, colored, In Greek and French
Xenofontos, date unknown, colered, in Greek and French

17 Grigoriou

Grigoriou, date unknown: Mont-Athos Conseilgé des Pélerinages, 4 Av. de Breieuil, Paris: Le Monastery de
St- Paul: added number 2387

Mistakes were made even in old times: here a French postcard printed in Paris shows us Grigoriou and the text mentions: St-Paul.

Grigorioi, 13th may 1988: card sent to England

This is clearly a postcard bought by tourists who do not visit Athos, as we can learn from the text: Edith goes shopping and window gazing in the morning and spend the afternoon on the beach!

Grigoriou, date unknown

What is interesting om this postcard is the old tower on the right side of the monastery, whitch is even better visible on the next two postcards.

Grigoriou, date unknown
Grigoriou, date unknown

On both full color postcards you can see the old ruined and high tower stil standing. It has been removed in the meanwhile, as you can see on the picture below from 2019:

Grigoriou, 2019, photo Wim Voogd

Maybe the old tower is a remnant of the great fire from 1761, when the old parts of the monastery were distroyed totally. I am not sure when the ruin of the old tower is removed. According to the other pictures of Grigoriou that I have in my archive, I could find out that the ruins of this tower has been demolished between 1909 and 1956. What is assuring about Grigoriou that the iconical palm tree is seen on almost every picture!

Wim Voogd, 28th May 2021

This entry was posted in 09 Sografou, 10 Docheiariou, 11 Karakallou, 12 Filotheou, 13 Simonos Petras, 14 Paulou, 15 Stavronikita, 16 Xenofontos, 17 Grigoriou and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 2206 – postcards from Athos: part two

  1. DD says:

    I am French, and lover of Agion Oros, where I came twice as a pilgrim and still have a friend monk here. I like your blog very much, thank you for your work which reminds me all good memories frome the Holy Mountain.
    My English is not good at all but I have tried to translate the text of the French postcard. It is a letter from a French soldier in 1917. When I was a student, I spent three months in Thessaloniki to write a document about the French fighters in Greece during WWI, a topic I know quite well : it seems that the author, Pierre Dodat, did not visit Agion Oros (or he does not mention it; it was a very little delegation who came at Athos during the war) ; it is possible that he was provided this postcard in Thessaloniki for example.
    As I can understand, he writes to his wife, Marie, and is father of a little girl, Louise. I hope my translation is understandable :

    1917, May 28th
    My dearest little Marie,
    Yesterday at night I received your letter of the 14th. Thank you so much for the banknote of 20 francs. Today, I received your package in which there were three cheeses, one tin can and a small pot of marmalade which did not contain anything anymore, it was all melted.
    I have nothing very new to tell you except that I am fine and hope with all my heart that you are as well, as little Louise and everybody at home.
    Yesterday, we have been bombarded by planes, they came twice in 3 hours, I can tell you that it was not good at all. They dropped about 40 bombs, three falled in our camp ; there were some injured people among us, some mules killed, well not too much damage.
    Today it is raining cats and dogs.
    Say hello for me to everyone at home. Embrace my little bro for me.
    Your guy who thinks a lot of you and kisses you, as well as our little girl.
    Dodat Pierre / 2nd Engineers Regiment / 26th Company / 5M Sector

  2. Roumen Avramov says:

    Very interesting collection. I have a few comments:

    As I decrypt it, the text on the postcard from Karakalou (1917) reads: “Pourrais tu m’envoyer quelques livres de maison” (Could you send me a few books from our home)

    You posted a comment on one of the postcards from Zographou: “Next to the gate in the North wing, you see a long stretched building, where the archondariki is situated. Nowadays it is completely renovated and luxurious. The other houses are for workers/laymen.” Actually, at the time, this was not the archondariki, but a kind of “hospital” for elderly and ill monks. The building was abandoned for a long time and fully renovated by 2014 as the new archondariki of the monastery.

    The ugly red crane near Dochiarou was already there in 1999.

    And finally, the decrypting and the ranslatio of the letter from 28 May 1917 :

    Chère petite Marie,

    J’ai reçu ta lettre du 14 hier au soir. Je te remercie beaucoup de ton billet de 20. Aujourd’hui j’ai reçu ton colis ou il y avait 3 fromages, une boîte de conserve et un petit pot de confiture qui ne contenait plus rien. Elle était toute fondue.

    Je n’ai pas grand nouveau à te dire que je suis en bonne santé. Désire d’un grand cœur que tu sois de même ainsi que la petite Louise et tout le monde de la maison.

    Hier nous avons été bombardés par les avions. Ils y sont venus deux fois en 3 heures. Je t’assure qu’il n’y faisait guère bon. Ils ont laissé une quarantaine de bombes, on les écoutait siffler à nos oreilles. 3 sont tombés dans notre parc. Il y a eu quelques blessés, des mulets de tués, enfin pas grands dégâts. Aujourd’hui il tombe de l’eau à verse. Bien le bonjour à tout le monde à la maison. Embrasse bien le petit frère.

    Ton gars qui pense à toi et qui t’embrasse aussi la petite fille.

    Dodat Pierre…


    Dear little Marie,

    I received your letter from 14th yesterday’s evening. Thank you very much for your note from the 20th. Today I received the parcel with 3 pieces of cheese, the tin can and the small jar with confiture which was empty as it had melted.

    It is no great news to say that I am in good health. I heartily wish the same to you, to little Louise and to everybody at home.

    Yesterday we were bombed by the airplanes. They came twice within 3 hours. I assure you that it was not pleasant at all. They threw about 40 bombs, and we listened to them whistle in our ears. 3 of them fell in the park. There were a few wounded, killed mules but not great damages.

    Today rain is pouring. Hello everyone at home. Kisses to the little brother.

    Your guy who thinks of you and kisses you, as the little girl.

    Dodat Pierrre…



    Roumen Avramov (svetlaroumen@gmail.com)

    Virus-free. http://www.avg.com

    On Sat, May 29, 2021 at 12:25 AM Athos – Agion Oros wrote:

    > athosweblog posted: ” In part one – post 2205 – I showed you the postcards > I found on the internet of Karyes and the first eight monasteries. In part > two the next monastery is: 09 Sografou Sografou, 1917, made by Zepdji > photographe, Editeur Rollet Lyon, visé Paris nr ” >

Leave a Reply