Mount Athos
The Holy Mountain

  • Third day
  • Day 3 - We slept the night in Simonopetra monastery, and, after a good breakfast in a guest dining room, walked by the same route we took yesterday to Agiou Gregoriou. We were very fortunate to meet some sympathetic monks who showed us round the monastery, including a small chapel decorated with the most lovely frescoes, some of which are shown below.

    Simonopetra in the morning light

    Mules are still used for carrying the loads in construction work. These ones are going back for more stones.

    The first view of Agiou Gregoriou monastery

    The guestmaster's room in Agiou Gregoriou

    More contruction work at this monastery too.

    Beautiful new woodwork, mostly made from the monastery's own chestnut forests higher up.

    Daniel in the lion's den.
    We were particuarly fortunate in this monastery to be allowed to photograph some of the frescoes in the narthex (outer entrance) of a snall chapel. The imaginative ideas and the blodness of the execution give you a new view of frescoes. And these were just two of them! The fresco below was not in very good condition, but was nevertheless a delight with buried people rising from their graves, drowned people rising ut of the waters, and even people eaten by animals re-emerging from their mouths.

    The day of the resurrection

    Every inch of available land is terraced and cultivated

    Construction works

    and more construction

    and more mules doing the heavy work

    The garden to the right of the main entrance

    The monastery kitchen with very modern equipment

    St. George on the left, one of the many fresoces in the refectory

    These frescoes were done by 5 of the monks fairly recently

    Detail of the refectory floor

    The entrance to the main church of the monastery

    One of the cantilevered walkways

    Athos time and the world's time
    Athos time is measured from the time of sunset, which is 12 o'clock. Most monasteries reset their clocks every day or two, as the time of sunset changes. The photocrpah above was taken at around noon by Greek time, but Athos time is around 3½ hours ahead, since sunset the night before was arond 8.30. The first service of the day was arund 4 am Greek timeduring our visit in June, but of course it gets earlier and earlier according to Greek time until the end of the year.

    A nice fish mosaic

    A very colourful door with the garden beyond

    Looking out from the terrace

    The jetties have been completely rebuilt

    The ancient approach road to the monastery, and (left) detail showing the "bricks on edge" to prevent slipping

    The ancient winding trackway to St. Anne's skiti, which seems to go on up for ever, but fortunately has several fountains along the way

    We only got to the entrance courtyard at St. Anne, but they kindly gave us some raki and water

    Some fine ironwork with the badge of the Holy Mountain

    A curious metal door

    The belvedere with a superb view

    The tower of St. Anne

    An outlying church at the start of the path back to Agiou Paulou

    A little further on

    The path has some quite steep gradients

    but some spectacular views

    First view of the monastery of Agiou Paulou

    The arsenal and the view back to Dafni

    The full extent of Ag. Paulou

    The old path suddenly joins the modern bulldozed road

    The main courtyard of Ag. Paulou. Like many of the monasteries, it has suffered from a major fire, and was completely rebuilt some 100 years ago. Unusualy, there is quite a lot of stained glass, i fiarly large panes of colour, which give a curious effect in the sunlight.

    Looking over the parapet to the roof of a small church


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