1910 – Koutloumousiou monastery: part 3

koutloumousiou planLet’s continue our exploration of the courtyard:DSCN7464 (Large)The balconies in the North-East corner: the kitchen and the bakery (Γ 1 and Γ 3), with a large clock on the wall.

DSCN7465 (Large)SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHere are pilgrim Gert Jan and me standing in front of the fountain (B on the plan). In tower like building (A1 and Zα) behind the fountain is the secretariat and there used to be a phiale (now at B1), according to the information from the Mylonas Atlas. The white building (Λ) next to the outer wall is the laundry. Koutloumousiou phiale (2).JPGThe phiale in its old position, before 1980 – photo from Feigl – Vorhölle zum ParadiesDSCN7448 (Large)Again buillding A1 and the defence tower E. In this tower is a chapel called Ag. Archangheli (Archangels).SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe katholicon and the exo-narthex. DSCN7402 (Large)The katholicon seen from the balconies of the guesthouse.DSCN7486 (Large).JPGThe guesthouse (West wing) DSCN7478 (Large)The bell on the second floor balcony. The arches on the left  are in the South wing (M and H1 – “the burnt wing”).Feigl fire Koutloumousiou december 1980

Another picture – of december 1980 – from the Feigl book about Athos: a fire broke out in the South wing of the monastery during the nightly service, meaning that the monks did not notice it until late. Due to assistance from monks of nearby cells and and a fire extinguisher from Stavronikita prevented the fire from expanding.DSCN7477 (Large)The first floor: a big wooden talanton and two made from iron. DSCN7476 (Large)The wooden talanton with its hammer.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBuildings M1 (left – the guesthouse), M2 in the corner and M (South wing). Above the building in the upper level you’ll see a dome of chapel: Ag Natalía. In the lower level there is chapel of Ag. Anárgyri (Cosmas and Damian).SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBehind the katholicon: the South wingSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThis picture showes the South wing and the katholicon to the right. On the left the cells of monks (H) and in de corner the abbots quarters (Z). On the ground floor of the South wing in the second arch from the left you will find this mural:DSCN7453 (Large)a painting of the monastery with two bamboo chairs and a small table.DSCN7451 (Large)The katholicon and the abbots quarters left.DSCN7452 (Large)The backside of the katholiconDSCN7454 (Large)In the church outer wall: paintings of the Panaghia, Christ and John the Forerunner(?) and an abbot (?) with a text next to him.DSCN7455 (Large)Next to this place: a stele with inscriptions, a cross and  pieces of marble stone. In the right corner above you see a red shoe of …DSCN7456 (Large)this man, probably a Byzantine emporer.DSCN7446 (Large)A text made of bricks in the wall of the East wing DSCN7447 (Large)A antique grave plate from the (probably) the city of Kleonia in the East wing DSCN7445 (Large)The katholicon, exo-narthex and the cypress tree, with the trapeza on the right and the phiale on the left. Let’s take closer look inside the katholicon:DSCN7410 (Large)The iconostasisSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDSCN7412 (Large)DSCN7413 (Large)DSCN7414 (Large)DSCN7411 (Large)Icon of Ag. Nicolaos

and here are some photo’s of the exo-narthex:DSCN7479 (Large)SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESDSCN7481 (Large)Plaques and all kind of mythical animalsDSCN7481Men dancing in a ‘Greek’ style DSCN7484 (Large)DSCN7483 (Large)This wall painting in the corner on the right needs to be examined closer: it is the scene of Jesus Christ who miraculous multiplies bread at the lake of Galilee. There some interesting details in this mural.DSCN7484First a detail on the top: two Saints (Simon?) seated on pilars. DSCN7483-1Jesus with the loaves of bread in his handsDSCN7483-2The apostles giving bread to the public. Notice the couple on the right side of the painting:DSCN7483-3

In this scene it is obvious that we see a couple that is in love: they embrase/kiss eachother. This kind of profane scenes are very rare on Mount Athos!DSCN7444 (Large)Night falls over the monastery.DSCN7469 (Large)Early next morning: time to leave Koutloumousiou.

Wim Voogd, 5/5/17

This ends the photo essay’s about the 2015 pilgrimage. It is time for our next, that starts on Monday the 8th of May.

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1909 – Koutloumousiou monastery: part 2

Let’s continue my photo essay about Koutloumousiou, which I started in post 1903. Today we will walk around the outer walls and we will have a look inside the courtyard.

Here is plan of the monasery (made in 2000) and places where I shot the pictures (with a Nikon S9900 with GPS). koutloumousiou planKoutloumousiou spots 3We will start at the red A, the entrance the monastery.DSCN7417 (Large)The entrance A (Δ1 on the map)DSCN7432 (Large)This is the South wall, photographed at spot B (building M on the plan above, the former cellar). Number H 1 means: a burned wing.DSCN7433 (Large)At the corner of the South wall and West wall (spot / building M 1 and 2 on the plan, once the wine and oil cellar, and the guesthouse Z 2).  DSCN7434 (Large)When turning to the West, building T appears, a worker’s house.DSCN7435 (Large)The West wing of the monastery, seen from above, from building M5 (a general storage) and T (spot D).DSCN7436 (Large) A detail of the general storage, building M5, build in 1934.DSCN7437 (Large)The defence tower, building E, in the North/West corner.DSCN7438 (Large)Near that spot at D, the water reservoir. 

In 2015 I forgot to photograph the North wall, so here are some from my archive from 1989:073 Athos Koutloumousiou 073072 Athos - muur Koutloumousiou 072Large cracks in the North wall of Koutloumousiou in 1989.06 Koutloumousiou 3 BarskiThis is one of the oldest drawings of the monastery, made by Barsky in 1744.

Now let’s have a look in the courtyard:DSCN7457 (Large)The entrance (Δ), with a wall of the exo-narthex of the katholicon on the right. Above the gate the wing of cells (H).SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe entrance and main church, with the fountain B on the left.DSCN7405 (Large)DSCN7406 (Large)A place to relax for guests: you will find this room directly after entering the gate/ courtyard on your right hand.DSCN7475 (Large)DSCN7407 (Large)A ‘timetable’ for services in the church: they shift in time during the year.DSCN7408 (Large)The fountain and church, seen from Λ (the laundry).DSCN7404 (Large)The katholicon and the West wing, the guesthouse (Z 2).DSCN7403 (Large)Seen from the guesthouse: the church, the fountain and the trapeza (Γ). Here you can see that a new marble fountain or phiale was erected after the making of the plan by Mylonas in 2000 (at spot B 2).DSCN7458 (Large)The new phiale in the courtyardSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESNext to the phiale: the entrance to the trapeza, the refectory. We were lucky because normally the non-orthodox pilgrims are NOT allowed to enter this building, but on this occasion we could eat there because the small room for the non-orthodox was being renovated. DSCN7468 (Large)The door to the trapeza, with two archangels, Michael and Gabriel, nicely carved in wood. DSCN7466.JPGAbove the door, the Panaghia, the Christ and the Prodromos. Look at the high quality of this wall new painting. While eating our meal in the trapeza we realized that the complete interior of the refectory is recently painted in this ashtonishing and supurb quality! Unfortunately I was not allowed to make pictures inside, but what I saw absolutely one of the best wall paintings I ever saw on the Holy Mountain!DSCN7466A detail of the painting above the door.

Next time I will share some pictures of the interior of the church and some details in the courtyard. The next blog will finish my photo-essays about the pilgrimage in 2015.

On the 8th of May 2017 we will return to the Holy Mountain for our next pilgrimage, for me it is the 11th visit. My brother Herman and his group (with Bas Kamps) have the following plan:  watertaxi to Thibais-Esfigmenou, Esfigmenou- Maroudá, -taxi to Lavra, Lavra- Nea Skiti. 

We will visit Maroudá, Vatopedi, Chilandar (thanks to Vlad from Pemptousia) and Stavronikita.

Wim, 3/5/17

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1908 – Composer Igor Stravinsky was never on Athos and Diaghilev neither

As a devout member of the Russian Orthodox church the Russian composer Igor Fjodorovitsj Stravinsky (1882- 1971) was a keen collector of religious books and objects. Not so much in the early years of his adult life, in the wild years of de Rite of Spring. But later, when he was in his forties’ he reconnected with his faith. In that period he moved to Nice. One of his famous quotes of that period:
“Music praises God.
Music is well or better able to praise him than the building of the church and all its decoration;
it is the Church’s greatest ornament”.Stravinsky moved to Nice in 1924, after buying an expensive residence, the Villa des Roses, and he then asked his friend and impresario Diaghilev when the latter would leave for the Holy Mountain Athos.
Diaghilev and Stravinsky in 1921 during a visit to Spain.
He asked Sergei Diaghilev to buy him some icons. The icons had to be blessed on the Holy Mountain itself. He also wanted to have a catalogue of all Russian of ancient-Slav books, available on Athos at the moment.
He wrote to Diaghilev:
“When do you leave for Mount Athos? I must tell you that your trip to this holy place interests me more than anything else. I would like you to bring several icons for me, and a wooden cross, and to have them blessed at the same place.”
But Diaghilev never made the pelgrimage to Athos. He died in Venice in 1929 of diabetes before he could visit the Holy Mountain.
For a long time Stravinsky corresponded with Hieromonk Gerasim, who lived on Athos. He used to send the monk money. Stravinsky always kept a picture of Gerasim on his desk in Nice. He donated the books and other religious objects to the Russian Orthodox Cathedral St. Nicholas in Nice. The Cathedral is under the jurisdiction of the Moscow Patriarchate and property of the Russian state (by the way: until 2011 it was under the jurisdiction of the Church of Constantinople). It is the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in Western Europe. It’s history is closely connected to the Russian nobility from the middle of the 19th century, after the Tsar Nicholas Alexandrovich, died in Nice in 1912 and later it was a refuge for the émigrés after the Russian Revolution.
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral Saint-Nicolas in Nice, France.
They both found their eternal resting place on the cemetery island close to Venice, called Isola di San Michele. They were reunited in death but despite their desires they both never made it to the Holy Mountain.

Bas Kamps

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1907 – Photographs by Frank Horlbeck


Vatopedi, trapeza, 1981
Photo’s by Frank Horlbeck from an exhibition held in the US (Chazen Museum of Art, Wisconsin) earlier this year which included about fifty digital prints made from a collection of over 20,000 slides and digital images to tell the story of Mount Athos in four distinctive sections: Monks and the Rituals of Daily Life; Sacred Landscape and Monastic Enclosure; Architecture and Sacred Space; and Icons.
Lavra, trapeza, 1986
Exhibition Text: A monk reverently sits at a table in the dimly lit trapeza (dining hall) of the Lavra, where the T-shaped plan with an apse, curved sigma (C-shaped) tables from the 10th century, and frescoed walls from floor to ceiling deliberately evoke the sacred space of a church interior. 

Old kitchens in Lavra , 1968
The photographer, Emeritus Professor of Art History, Frank L. Horlbeck has made documented all aspects of the landscape, architecture and life of the monks during frequent extended visits to the Holy Mountain between the 1970s and 2015.

A cell at Dionysiou 1979
A very nice image, read here the exhibition text.
Skulls in the ossuary of Podromos, 1986
Fire in Karakalou, june 14th 1988. The photographer witnessed a remarkable moment when lightning struck in the night.
Exhibition text: Frank Horlbeck awoke at midnight to the sound of lightning striking the
southeast wing of Karakalou. The following morning he captured the smoke rising from the rubble. The walls of the monastic enclosure appear impenetrable from the outside, but their wooden structure makes them vulnerable to fire. The monastery is centered around the church, shown here in the foreground with a tall dome, while the guest house, refectory, and monastic cells for sleeping and solitary prayer line the perimeter wall.


Chilandariou in 1981
The complete photo collection of the exhibition by Frank Horlbeck you will find here.

Herman Voogd

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1906 – Corrodi’s nocturnal ascent on Mount Athos

Hermann David Salomon Corrodi (1844-1905) was an Italian artist, based in Rome, who painted mainly Oriental and historical scenes. He travelled a lot in the Orient, was popular in royal circles and even became befriended with Queen Victoria. In the last month or even the last days of his life he made this picture of Athos; the nocturnal ascent on mount Athos. He died on January 30, 1905. So this ascent must have been one of his very last paintings. As a forbearing of his own ascent.

Pilgrims who have made the ascent to the top of Mount Athos, even those who climbed it during daytime, know that Corrodi hasn’t painted it in situ. The landscape, the church and the stairs are a product of his fantasy. He painted it in his Roman studio.  But probably not from sketches he made before, like his Oriental paintings. The hermits hut clung on the steep rock like a birds’ nest is an interesting detail. The seven monks with their lamps and walking sticks lead the viewer to the ascent.

Bas Kamps

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1905 – new Bulgarian documentary film about Athos: “The Garden of Theotokos”?

Last week I received an email from Silvia Stoyanova, producer of PavloFFilms. This is what she wrote to me to promote their new film about Athos:

“Our film is made for a wider audience as from the start we decided that we want to send it out to film festivals. We made our film for a non-religious audience, people interested in foreign culture and traditions. The religious theme is presented objectively. Our film is a glimpse into the life of this unknown community presented in a way that outsiders can understand and see how monks live”.

It looks as most of the filming has been done in the Bulgarian monastery Sografou in 2013. And the documentary film will go with English, Greek and Russian subtitles. So the Athos community will be treated with yet another fine film about the Holy Mountain, it looks very promising! To finish the film they started a crowdfunding on this site . A financial support is asked because is $6,000 is needed (thanks Vasilis for your comment).

The trailer of “The Garden of Theotokos”

From the same film company I found these clips about the Easter preparations on Athos:

Preparations before the service on Good Friday at Zograf monastery, Mount Athos

Scene from the documentary “The Garden of Theotokos”: Monks from Sografou monastery are painting Easter eggs

Making the traditional sweet Easter bread at Sografou

Procession with the icon Axion Estin on Easter Monday

Wim Voogd, 22/4

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1904 – ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ / Christos Anesti!

Easter liturgy in the Protaton in 1958, photographed by Chrysostomus Dahm, who published them in 1959 in his book Athos, Berg der Verklärung.126 Dahm Protaton Easter celebrations016 Dahm Protos en Gouverneur Konstantopoulos bisschop Nathanael in ProtatonGouverneur Konstantopoulos and Protos Nathanael in the Protaton127 Dahm Protaton during Easter monk with candles128 Dahm monks singing during Easter service129 Dahm Protaton protos iconostasis Easter130 Dahm a look between the Kingsdoors Protaton131 Dahm monk with censer Easter Protaton132 Dahm monks bending their heads at the censer133 Dahm ending of the Easter ceremonies with Protos NathanaelThe ending of the Easter ceremonies: a meeting in the Iera Kinotis with Protos Nathanael134 Dahm to the Easter procession135 Dahm monk with semantron walking in front of the Easter processionDahm: monk with semantron walking in front of the Easter procession. Notice the monk with a camera in the middle.124 Dahm the Axion Estin procession at Easter ProtatonThe Axion Estin procession at Easter in Koutloumousiou123 Dahm Koutloumousiou father Cherubim at EasterFather Cherubim from Koutloumousiou at Easter

Wim Voogd, 16/04/17 (thanks to Jitze who lended me his book)

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