1714 – the Saint George chapel near Morfonou

Athos - Agion Oros

As mentioned before in other posts on this weblog, Athos keeps surprizing me with unknown places and buildings, like this small chapel of St. George. According to the Rumenian Pemptousia website the chapel lies on a half an hour climb from Morfonou in the direction of the Provata area.

The chapel belongs to Lavra. Lavra monks recently (?) started with the renovation of the chapel, that obviously is in need for a quick repair. The surrounding area is cleared.

Here are the pictures (thanks Pemptousia):

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The last picture in the dome showes Christ Pantocrator: according to Pemptousia the image has many similarities with the frescoes in the church Protaton in Karies, the capital of the Holy Mountain.

29IRI6495-2-1024x683Skulls of deceased monks are still in situ: a fine picture!

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14IRI6445-2-1024x68320IRI6470-2-1024x683Above a fine wood curved and colorfull painted iconostasis and the frescoes appear to have a high quality.

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28IRI6493-2-1024x68321IRI6475-2-1024x683Pemptousia says…

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1714 – the Saint George chapel near Morfonou

1678 – A walk around Dionysiou

Athos - Agion Oros

We received a warm and friendly welcome in the guest house of Dionysiou. It was good to be in a monastery after the walk from Grigouriou in the snow. We had a spicy discussion with another guest about our walking trip and the risks we took. Later he apologised and stated that he just had expressed his concerns about our wellbeing.

The guestrooms are located just behind the medieval tower in which the famous antique library is hidden. There is a separate room for guests and workers where you can make your own Greek coffee. The concept of self-service is being introduced in the monasteries. We had an inspiring conversation with an American who once had a construction firm in New York, but now worked temporarily as an aid in the kitchen. “Never put all your eggs in one basket”, was one of the grim lessons of life he taught…

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1678 – A walk around Dionysiou

1529 – Many crafts on holy ground

Athos - Agion Oros

p leatherThese following pictures are made in the years 1860-70 when the Russian monastery of Panteleimonos was inhabited bylarge numbers of monks. The estimate is that, at that time,  more then 1500 monks lived in the monastery and the surrounding buildings.  Above a picture of a tannery. 15 monks with animals skins, probably goat or sheep. The first thing you ask yourself why are they loiden animal skins. It that for their own use or maybe for export. The other question is of course where did they obtains the skins. It is clear that they didn’t get the skins from Mount Athos itself because there is no tradition of hurding skeep or goats on the peninsula. So skins had to be supplied from the mainland.p labatoryHere you see a kind of labatory. Is it a pharmacy?                            …

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1529 – Many crafts on holy ground

1545 – Athos by Tom Whipple

Athos - Agion Oros

1 filotheouTom Whipple is a British journalist who visited Mount Athos  4 times. He wrote an interesting article published in INTELLIGENT LIFE magazine april 2014. Here are some  parts of his writings:

“Over four visits here, I have never quite established why and how it decided to ban women. The official line is that the Virgin ordained it—to shield the monks from temptation and ease their route to heaven. A more secular explanation is that, some time in the 11th century, the Patriarch of Constantinople discovered that the shepherds employed on the mountain to supply the monks were selling them not just wool, but also their daughters. Females, of both the human and ovine variety, were banned forthwith”.

5 iviron“Calling Athos medieval risks demeaning it as a museum, or a curiosity. And yet, it is the closest to the medieval world I have ever come, an institution with an unbroken link stretching…

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1545 – Athos by Tom Whipple

1615 – The worn steps in the Katholikon of Chilandariou

Athos - Agion Oros

kerk chilandariou

The Katholikon (church) of the Serbian monastery of Chilandariou was built in the beginning of the 14th century. The outer narthex, here on the photo, is a later addition but if you look closer at the worn steps of the marble stairs you see that this has to be very old. How many pilgrims and monks has to cross this small staircase to damage the marble to this degree? So are these stairs from the 14th century? Who knows the answer?

The same steps in Chilandariou 2013 – photo by Wim Voogd

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1615 – The worn steps in the Katholikon of Chilandariou

1618 – Chilandar: the vine of St. Simeon

Athos - Agion Oros

On the pictures below you can see the famous Vine of St Simeon, which has grown out of the side of the church, where St. Simeon’s former resting place is, and born fruit for the last 800 years. In the words of a Serbian website:

“A vine sprouted from St. Simeon’s (Stefan Nemanja’s) tomb. It still yields fruit after 800 years. Barren women become mothers after they have tasted the grapes from the vine. This miraculous vine has brought luck to many childless married couples who now have their posterity. One can become acquainted with the contents of a great number of letters sent to the monastery by the thankful parents who consumed grapes from Nemanja’s vine.”

The monks also make wine using a few of the grapes from the vine and give the wine as a blessing to visitors, especially those who have experienced a miracle through St Simeon’s intercessions”.

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1618 – Chilandar: the vine of St. Simeon