Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Monastery Overlooking Serres

We celebrated Theophany here in Panorama at St. George’s and in the evening we went with another American theology student (who has a car), Moses Hawk, to the Monastery of the Honorable Forerunner (St. John the Baptist), which is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the city of Serres.

Serres is a decent-sized city (probably the fifth or sixth largest in Greece) about 90 minutes northeast of Thessaloniki.

This is the same monastery we visited with Gerontissa Efpraxia and Sister Partheni back in August (see the blog archives). This is really a wonderful monastery. We only wish we could make it there more often.

The monastery was founded in the 13th century by a monk who came off Mount Athos to take care of an orphaned nephew. We visited the original, tiny chapel the two of them built. It’s about a 10 or 15 minute walk in the woods from the current monastery, the bulk of which was built in the 14th century.

The top photo shows Moses and Pelagia walking to the white-colored chapel, which can be barely seen in the background, slightly to the right.

The middle photo shows RM inside the small chapel.

The last photo is of Sister Katherine sounding the simantron, announcing the beginning of Vespers. She is standing in the exo-narthex, at the entrance to the katholikon.

Sister Katherine is an American from Texas who’s been at the monastery for three years now. She was friends with Moses at their parish in Texas before she ‘left the world.’

After Vespers and Small Compline, we were able to visit with her and ‘the second’ of the monastery, for quite awhile – we had a wonderful discussion.


I was amazed that an American girl could come to Greece, learn Greek, and fit right into the monastic life and have such joy. She seemed like she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world but here.

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