2009 – Trees on the mountain slope between Chairi Pass and Stavros

In 2017 we walked around the mountain from Megistis Lavras monastery via Katounakia to Nea Skiti (not on this map by Peter Howorth but located between Sk. Anna and Paulou monastery). It took us the whole day, no roads only very nice footpaths.  First from Lavra to the Chairi Pass (S) at app. 400 meters.At point (R) on the map we took the higher path in the direction of Kerasia. The lower path, on the left of the picture,  is also very worthwhile and goes to house of Nelios (the map says Vasiliou,  but thats wrong) and the little village of Kavsokalivia.
The path is on, the sometimes steep,  south slope of the mountain itself. Occasionally rocks will fall from the mountain. This one got stuck between two trees.The trees alongside the path have the strangest forms.Slowly the paths will reach a height of 7oo meters. The impression is more of a walk through an old forest then a walk on a mountain slope. There is a lot of shadow and on both sides of the path are trees. At some point there is a kind of secret path (not on any map) downhill  to Kavsokalivia which we saw a monk take but we were to late to photograph him sitting on his mule. It was the only encounter we had on this part of the path.
The signs are helpful but is almost impossible to get lost.  
The trees become even more spectacular. Most of them are oak trees.Then we reached the point Stavros where we rested for a while. Here the only path to the top of the mountain starts. But we went down, a very steep descent to Katounakia. See also the post of fellow traveller Bas Kamps.

Herman Voogd

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2008 – a closer look at Vatopedi

Plan of the monastery from 1980

In 2017 we slept in one of the older parts of the monastery archondariki, building H – left SW corner, that has not been renovated yet.The stairs to the archontarikiAn original balcony on the first floor (in the SW corner at B)Corner B on the plan above: seen from the stairs. The chapel on the right on the upper floor is dedicated to Ag. Theodori, below it is the chapel of Ag. Minás. The chimneys are also visible on this picture from Cas Oorthuys, made in 1957: The Vatopedi courtyard, with the church of the Holy Girdle on the left. The building in the middle is for food storage.The SW corner – on the left a covered cysterne. The red chapel on the right is for Agii Anargyri – Cosmas & Damian – two Arab physicians, reputedly twin brothers, and early Christian martyrs, who accepted no payment for their services, led to them being named Anargyroi (from the Greek Ανάργυροι, “the silverless” or “Unmercenaries”).Inside the archontaraki: a small kitchen for coffeea long corridor with empty iron bedsAnother corridor in the guest house, with an original stone floor view from a balcony on the first floorPilgrims and monks A renovated part of the South wingThe clock tower and katholiconUnder the eaves of the tower of the Katholikon is set a new (?) smaller size clock with Roman numerals. Beside it an exotic male figure with a red hat, a scimitar sword, a large moustache and in a Turkish dress with a green cloak, called the “Negro”(because of the black color?), who strikes the bell with a hammer and rings the hours.  The clock itself has been replaced many times, this the one  I saw in 1980.and here a picture from the internet, with another type of clock – a more simple version.The Eye of Providence (or the all-seeing eye of God), representing the eye of God watching over humanity on top the Vatopedi katholiconThe trapeza of VatopediThe entrance door to the trapezaAbove the door: a lamp with a martinA window of the katholiconBehind the katholicon: a courtyard (building K), where sheets hang to dry.The North side of the katholiconThe same spot 21 years ago, in 1997, when minister Venezilos Evangelos visited VatopediThe grave of Elder Joseph, who died in 2009 and lived 63 years on the Holy Mountain. Not many monks obtain the honor to be buried inside the walls of the monastery.A marble plaque in the wall of the katholiconThe heating for the church from 1909The clock tower of the katholicon and the bellfry, where the antique books are stored.

Wim Voogd, 29-7

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2007 – The main square in Karyes

The main square in Karyes is where the bus from Dafni stops, where pilgrims take minibuses to the monasteries, do their shoppings, drink coffee or an Amstel while waiting for the buses. It can be very busy when the buses arrive or leave. But also very quiet when all the pilgrims have left  on their way to the monasteries. This is in 2015.The square in 1918 by Fernan Cuville with the Holy Mountain in the background. Cuville was standing a little higher on the same road that you see on the photo above.Pilgrims leaning on their sticks. The square is also the place where all the distribution of goods and food for the monasteries starts.Behind the shops with the red rooftops is a very tiny patio which has the shape of a triangle, clearly to be seen in the aerial view. With an old vine and wooden balconies its very different compared with the sometimes hectic atmosphere of the square. This is the situation in 2017.

Herman Voogd

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2006 – Vatopedi, a closer look at the main gate

The main entrance to Vatopedi monastery (Δ on the plan) have been subject in many posts on our weblog. Today we wil take closer look at the gate and I will show you some detailed pictures. This is a plan of the main gate to the monastery:On the picture below you can see that the renovation of the characteristic coloured glass panels in the entry baldachin (Δ1) were conducted in May 2017 .The fountain that is used by pilgrim Jitze is at spot B1 on the plan. The marble fountain dating from 1884. Behind it (B7) is the open cisterne.The baldachin whit the panels where the coloured glass is placed: on the photo below the situation in 2013,Picture of the coloured glass panels from 2013: behind the entrance you can see the tower of Prodromos (E on the plan), with a homonymous chapel in it (k).The dome of the baldachin, with its impressive wall paintings. Bright blue colors dominate the scenes. In the middle of the dome Trinity, with Christ, God the Father and the Holy Gost, a dove in  a shining light, and in between them the moon, sun and stars. They are surrounded by numeral Saints. Above the gate with red and white bricks you can see a painting of the Panaghia with Christ as a child, well protected by a glass case.In the four corners of the dome you see these paintings: Maria (in a brown and blue dress) with the Holy GostApostel Ioseph (in green clothes) writing a text A Saint, also writing a textDetail: a painting in blue and white, almost like Delftware painting on Dutch tiles and pottery. In the fourth corner: an angel The glass panels still in situ in the baldachin.The main gate with its iron doors. Behind it, on the right, the gate keeper in his office (Δ2)Pilgrims have to check in here, to verify their reservations  The gate keepers place seen from the other side, with fine (new) paintings of the Vatopedi monastery on the walls.The aerial view of the monasteryDetail of the gate on the paintingAireal picture of the gate, made by me in May 2017Detail from an old engraving: here you see that the entrance has been moved. On the plan above you can see the former main gate at spot Δa.The second gate with doors, build 1896 (see Γ4 on the plan)Above the second gate: a mosaic of angel Gabriel and the PanaghiaOn the right side of the second entrance : a hidden painting behind glass, difficult to see (attached to the tower of Prodromos).

NB. At Γ1 and Γ2 on the map above used to be the kitchen and bakery (situation 1980). Nowadays these facilities are moved to the East wing, near the trapeza/refectory.

Next time more about the Vatopedi courtyard.

Wim Voogd, 30-6

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2005 – An African King from the Ivory Coast has been baptised Greek Orthodox

Tribal King Tchiffi Zae Jean Gervais from the Ivory Coast has been baptised Greek Orthodox by a monk at the Monastery of Koutloumousiou in June 2018.  Photo taken at Kaliagra arsanas by theorthodoxchurch.info. More here.

Herman Voogd

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2004 – Semantrons in skites

AnnaKafsokalivia  Protaton AndreouProdromou

Bas Kamps

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2003 – Aural icons of Orthodoxy

Aural icons of Orthodoxy, that is what the semantrons of Mount Athos are. Despite the differences between the monasteries and sketes they have several things in common. Among them the semantron, an essential tool to announce to call the monks for prayer. And it is the only musical instrument allowed in the monks republic. According to some historians the semantron has replaced the trumpet, that was used in Mount Sinaï in the 6thcentury, as a call for prayer. This is how it sounds.

The semantron was used during Ottoman times, because the ringing of bells was outlawed. After the Ottomans left, the custom stayed.

On my last pilgrimage in 2017 I tried to make a photographic collection of semantrons. And now in retrospect I looked into my collection to find out whether I have taken more pictures of semantrons and mallets. That’s the way it works with collections, once started you want to complete them.

And we added the pictures of Herman and Wim. We still need Xiropotamou, Xenophontos and Panteleimonos. You can send your picture of a lacking Athonian semantron to the webmaster. And we will gratefully add it to this collection.

We present them in the order of the rank of the monasteries:01 Lavra. Picture taken in 2017 by Bas Kamps.02 Vatopedi Picture taken in 2017 by Wim Voogd03 Iviron. Picture taken in 2015 by Bas Kamps.
04 Chilandariou  Picture taken in 1997 by Wim Voogd.05 Dionysiou. Picture taken in the winter of 2014/5 by Bas Kamps. 06 Koutloumousiou.  Picture taken in 2013 by Bas Kamps.07 Pantocratoros. Picture taken in 2013 by Herman Voogd

08 Xiropotamou

09 Sografou  Picture taken in 1980 by Wim Voogd.10 Docheiariou. Picture taken in 2011 by Bas Kamps.11 Karakallou.  Picture taken in 2013 by Bas Kamps.12 Filotheou. Picture taken in 2009 by Wim Voogd.13 Simonos Petras. Picture taken in 2015 by Bas Kamps.14 Paulou. Picture taken in 2014/15 by Bas Kamps.15 Stavronikita. Picture taken in 2015 by Bas Kamps.

16 Xenofontos

17 Grigoriou. Picture taken in 2011 by Bas Kamps.18 Esfigmenou. Picture taken in 2017 by Bas Kamps.

19 Panteleimonos

20 Konstamonitou.Picture taken in 2009 by Herman Voogd.

Bas Kamps

Posted in 01 Lavra, 02 Vatopedi, 03 Iviron, 04 Chilandariou, 05 Dionysiou, 06 Koutloumousiou, 07 Pantocratoros, 08 Xiropotamou, 09 Sografou, 10 Docheiariou, 11 Karakallou, 12 Filotheou, 13 Simonos Petras, 14 Paulou, 15 Stavronikita, 16 Xenofontos, 17 Grigoriou, 18 Esfigmenou, 19 Panteleimonos, 20 Konstamonitou | Tagged , | Leave a comment