Monday, August 07, 2006

Visit to the Monastery in Serres

Gerontissa Efpraxia and Sr. Parthenia from the monastery in Goldendale, WA are in Thessaloniki now, visiting Gerontissa's family in another small suburb called Kato Scholari (about 10 miles from us). On Saturday morning, we went with them to visit the Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner (Timiou Prodromou) in Serres, about 50-60 miles north of us, and 25 miles south of the Bulgarian border. It was absolutely beautiful! It was built around 1250 and housed 300 monks at its height. It was severely persecuted at the beginning of the 20th century by the Macedonian Wars, and in 1984 the bishop came to find only one elderly monk still there. In 1986, under Elder Ephraim, some nuns from a monastery in Volos (halfway between Athens and Thess) came to restart the monastery. They are now flourishing with 25-30 sisters. The EU has designated this an historical site and is pouring money in to remodel it. Shortly before we arrived, a team of 23 archeaologists from Princeton spent 2 weeks there studying the site.

We don't have too much like this in the US! And we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration in the church built in 1270!

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