There was no liturgy on Friday morning, so the service ended around 5:30 AM. We had breakfast immediately afterwards, and then went back to bed for a couple hours.
When we woke up, it was another beautiful day, so we decided to walk over to the nearest monastery, Esphigmenou, which is only about 40 minutes away, on the northeastern coast.
Sadly, Esphigmenou has been the locus of some controversy in recent years. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful and burgeoning monastery, with over 100 monks (it is the second largest brotherhood, after only Vatopedi).
When we arrived, the monks offered us some lunch, so we sat and ate. Afterwards, a monk opened the church for us.
About an hour and a half after we arrived, we set off again, but not before checking out the monastery from the water’s edge. It is in a truly spectacular location.
We hoofed it back to Hilandar and rested briefly before heading to Vespers again at 3 PM. Dinner and Small Compline followed as usual.
After Small Compline, one monk led a tour into the monastery’s museum, which houses some beautiful icons and other ecclesiastical treasures, dating from as early as 1200. Interestingly, we were even able to venerate them, as thousands of others had been doing for the last 800 years.After that, it was off to an early bed again.