2079 – On our way to Vatopediou

We picked up our rucksacks, said goodbye to the archondariki, and were on our way to Vatopediou. Looking back to Pantocratoros we had a good view on the aqueduct that leads to the monastery. The aqueduct spans an olive orchard. We saw some smoke from behind the bushes; the monks were burning rubbish.

A steady climb awaits when you leave Pantocratoros in the direction of Vatopediou. On these southern hills there are mainly shrubberies. Quite unlike the vegetation on the other side of the peninsula. The broom was blooming in April. In the far distance the silhouette of Stavronikita can be seen. Profitou Eliou is not visible, it is just behind the first hill.

Higher up the hill and further from the shoreline, the vegetation becomes more dense. Shrubberies make place for trees, that embrace the monopati and make it hollow like a hole. Here with pilgrim Jacques.

It was still hazy in the early afternoon. Pilgrims Barry and Herman passing.

Suddenly the monopati opens into a dirt road. There, out of the ancient woods, we see cultivated nature; terraced plantation of neat olive trees and blooming broom.

When we walked on we were suddenly surpassed by a monk from Vatopediou, who was powerwalking at twice our speed. We later learned that he had announced our arrival to the monastic community.

Arriving in Vatopediou we were first welcomed by an enormous blooming Wisteria.

Next time we will wander around the courtyard of Vatopediou.

Bas Kamps

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2078 – film: the hike from Panaghia refuge to the top of Mount Athos 2019

Together with pilgrims Richard Snellen and Gert Jan Wiekart, 30th of September, 1st of October 2019

Wim Voogd, 6/10

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2077 – Athos pilgrimage 2019: silhouettes and bells

The bells of the Metamorphosis chapel on the top of Mount Athos – 2033 meters
Two photos of the bell of the Panaghia refuge at 1500 meters (at daylight and sunset)
The grotesque gargoyle in the shape of a dragon at Xeropotamou monastery
On the top of Mount Athos, 7 AM October 1st 2019

Wim, 5/10

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2076 – Athos pilgrimage 2019: coloured glass

Xeropotamou: the phiale
Xeropotamou: the Katholicon
Grigoriou: stained glass and paintings inside the phiale
Agiou Pavlou monastery
Agiou Pavlou monastery

Wim, 5/10

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2075 – the top of Mount Athos, 1st of October

Tuesday morning October 1st we started at 5.00 pm our hike to the summit from the refuge Panaghia. The sky was clear, the view was fantastic and the sunrise magnificant!

Wim, 3-10 (top photo by Gert Jan Wiekart)

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2074 – Visiting Profitou Eliou

We had never visited skiti Profitou Eliou (skete of Prophet Elijah). We did see it several times from a distance. But today the Prophet was waiting for us in the morning clouds. Here we have an overview of the complex as seen from Pantocratoros. With the dominant katholicon, some surrounding buildings, all built on a levelled terrace, and the remains of an old windmill.

The situation before the church was built in 1903. The church was placed in the central courtyard.

Another view from Pantocratoros, with Profitou Eliou in the upper left corner.

The walk starts with a slight descent to the stream. Normally the passage is easy. But due to the rain the night before the stream had turned into a broad fast moving brown flow that carried all kinds of loose objects to the sea. The water level had risen dramatically. How we crossed fast brown stream is described by Herman in another blog.

Just before entering the skete we saw the windmill with vieilles vignes and an orchard. The blue symbol, unknown to me, on the windmill can be seen from afar. It reminds me of wicks, that are actually missing on the structure.

An old and a new way of producing power from of the forces of nature; wind and solar energy.

The very friendly and hospitable father Filemon showed us around in the church and invited us to take pictures of the interior. This is the central chandelier in the very centre of the katholicon. Father said that many people take the vertical shot from the middle of the light, as I did.

The style of the church is typically Russian; much daylight, open and very bright.

It is not very old to Athonite standards. The skete was founded in 1759 by an Ukrainian monk called Paisius Velichkovsky.

Father Filemon posing with the pilgrims Herman, Jacques and Barry. Later, in the guesthouse Father Filemon showed us the Rembrandt etching he got from “Jeltsin”. We tried to explain that it was not from “Jeltsin”, as he used to call Jitze, but from webhost Wim. We were not sure if he did get it. Read more about “Jeltsin”.

The background is formed by the impressive iconostasis with its 2000 kilos of pure gold.

In the guesthouse we had a long, informative and inspiring talk with fellow pelgrims.

We walked back over the save and dry dirt road  to Pantocratoros to collect our backpacks for the next stretch, the hike to Vatopediou.

Bas Kamps

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2073 -The courtyard of Pantocratoros

We spend the night in Pantocratoros. In the morning we allowed ourselves some time to wonder around the courtyard of Pantocratoros. I took the opportunity to take some pictures, that I want to share with you.

An orange tree contrasts with the ox-blood painted walls and the beige keep. The brick walls are well restored. There is a domed white marble baptismal font. One tree trunk is painted white. The fog surpassed the night.

The same orange tree with a blue background. The part over the central gate. The white pillars are an illusion; they are painted onto the stucco. The windows are real.

From the first floor is a wonderful view of the katholikon, the main church. Due to the high humidity a special reflection on the lead strips appeared.

The church bell with the katholikon.

The meditative floor of the central courtyard. The richness of colour and shapes is just stunning. Easy to overlook such a floor. But once you have seen it, there is no resistance against its simple and pure  beauty.

An overview of the inner courtyard with the top of the Phiale (=a building around a fountain), and the main entrance of the katholikon.

A detail of the leadworks on the roof of the katholikon.

To take the time to explore the details of the courtyard proved very inspiring. There is so much beauty and wonder in the simple aspects of Athonian buildings, a floor, a tile, a lead construction. All details are filled with a sense of spirituality.

Bas Kamps

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