It has been three years since we last visited the Holy Mountain. Due to the coronavirus, the lockdowns in the world and extra precautions that applied to Athos, no pilgrims were allowed to come. But this summer Athos will finally open again and pilgrims are allowed to visit (most) monasteries again. I’m lucky enough to be joining the FoMA footpath clearing team this month, so I’ll be back on the Athos Peninsula on September 25th. And it was about time, because while I have a large archive of Athos photos, my own Athos pilgrimage content has almost completely dried up. But with some patience I managed to save some photos from the last trip in 2019 and some content for a very last post from the trip of 2019.
On October 4th 2019 we arrived in Dafni on time to leave for Ouranopolis, so I had some time to wander around in the small harbour village. I ended up at the Southern part of Dafni, where I saw some old dilapidated buildings. One of them was a church near a boathouse. Because the door was open I could enter the building and have a look inside.
This is the church that I visited in 2019, shown on an old photograph and seen from the jetty. I think this must in a time before the WWII, according to the fashion and hat from the man on the picture. The stairs that lead to the balcony on the second floor have since been removed.
But first, let me show you a floor plan of the Dafni building complex of Simonospetras: it comes from the new website simonopetrafoundation.org, where several projects of Simonospetras are presented in an absolutely beautiful website.
The church wrapped in construction cloths and surrounded by scaffolding. I now know that the church is dedicated to All Saints thanks to to the website mentionend above.
Let’s have a closer look inside the church of All Saints.
I am curious what the church looks like now, because in 2019 the Simonospetras Monastery started the renovation work and in the meantime three years have passed. In the photo below you can get an impression of what it will eventually look like. I wonder how far they are in renovating the whole complex. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see it on my upcoming Footpath Clearing Trip, on returning to Ouranopolis.
To end this post: this is a photo of mr Herman Hissink from Holland in the 70-ties, with the Church of All Saints and Dafni seen from dirt road that leads to Simonospetras (with Xeropotamou in the background).
Next time more about the others buildings of Simonsopetras in Dafni.
Wim Voogd, 12-9-2022