Mount Athos Pilgrimage – Day Two

On the second day of the pilgrimage we began with the beautiful services of Matins and the Divine Liturgy at the Dokhiari monastery.

One of the great joys of Dokhiari’s services is the singing of the canon to the Theotokos “Who is Quick to Hear” following communion, a unique custom at this monastery. After breakfast we set out to the Skete of St. Andrey the First-Called. On this stop we were able to venerate the relics of the patronal saint, a particularly great blessing for Subdeacon Andrey as the Apostle is his patron. On the road to our next stop we sang an akathist to the Theotokos and once again prayed for those who requested prayers. The next monastery at which we arrived was Iveron where we venerated the Iveron icon of the Theotokos written by the Evangelist Luke. After singing another prayerful akathist to the Theotokos we walked to the shore where Panagia landed on the Holy Mountain. Miraculously, not more than 10 feet from the high water mark of the tide of the ocean there is a fresh water well, from which we quenched our thirsts before moving on to our next destination. Although the rain and wind began to settle in across the peninsula it did not stifle our brief tour of the Stavronikita monastery. Although the smallest monastery on the mountain, it is adorned with beauty in its architecture as well as the wonderful Cretan iconography and mosaic icon of St. Nicholas in the main church. Moving further into the peninsula we came to the Skete of the Prophet Elijah, nestled within a valley looking out over the Aegean Sea. Here, we sang many hymns to Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints. After a brief and refreshing break, complete with coffee, snacks, and the joy of being unable to refuse the ancient Byzantine custom of a whiff of samogon, we entered the Philosophical Room, where we contemplated mortality in the company of the skulls of many of the reposed fathers of the Skete. As the rains began to pour more and more heavily, watering the Garden of the Theotokos, we stopped for a warming meal in the capital of Mt. Athos, Karyes. Following the meal, however, our attempt to return to Dokhiari was foiled by impassible roads. However, through the intercessions of the Theotokos we instead spent the night back in the capital. 

Mount Athos Pilgrimage – Day Two was last modified: December 26th, 2019 by Deacon Kirill