Monday, September 11, 2006

The Holy Mountain: The End

After visiting Elder Paisios' cell, we went to visit Fr. Alexios' friend, Fr. Moses, at his cell inside the Skete of St. Panteleimon. It turns out Fr. Moses is quite famous. He is the author of 45 books in Greek; 3 have been translated to English. He encouraged me to continue learning Greek so that maybe I could translate more of them. ( ;

When we left, he gave me the English translation of his book "The Blessed Elder George Karslides."

Anyway, we visited with him awhile on his balcony (from which I took the top picture). In the Athonite tradition, he served us coffee, a pastry, and -- of course -- ouzo. Whew!

The next morning we had Orthros and Liturgy back at the Cell of the Holy Trinity. After breakfast, Fr. Christodoulos drove us back to the port of Daphne to catch our boat. Of course, there was a mad throng of people trying to get onto the tiny boat, but -- fortunately -- Fr. Alexios had wisely made reservations for us.

It was quite a shock getting back to Ouranopolis and having people swarming around in skimpy bathing suits (men and women alike)!

It was a wonderful visit. I feel truly blessed to have been able to go. Our friend, Roger Michael, is coming from Spokane to visit us in December, and we hope to visit the Holy Mountain right before Christmas (weather permitting).

Well, that's the end of that adventure. Now we're working on finishing up our application for a residence permit. If that goes well, we hope to take a trip to Constantinople at the end of September -- after the first stage of Pelagia's job is done and before school starts on Oct. 10.

I found out this morning that I did not receive the "foreign student scholarship" I had applied for. It was a long shot, but still -- foolishly -- I was very hopeful I would get it. It amounts to 400 or so Euros a month, plus I would be enrolled in the state socialized medical program. Everyone tells me that it will work out and that I'll have a better shot at getting one next year, but still I'm a bit disappointed. Apparently, the key is having letters of recommendation from the highest (and most Greek) church officials you can find. Another American here, Brendan, told me today that he also was denied the first year (he only had a letter from his Bulgarian bishop in the US). So the next year he got a letter from Archbp. Demetrios of the Greek Church in America, PLUS he got a letter from the Patriarch of Bulgaria, signed by the whole synod! This did the trick. So -- if anyone has an "in" with a Patriarch somewhere, let me know...

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