Sunday, January 18, 2009

Monastery of St. Athanasios in Kolindros

On Sunday morning, we were joined in Panorama by a Bulgarian hierodeacon from the famous St. John of Rila Monastery in Bulgaria. Fr. Makarios is the guestmaster at the enormous monastery, which--unfortunately, due to communism--now has only 10 monks.

In the afternoon, Fr. Alexios (the proistamenos of our parish) had the idea to make a trip to the Monastery of St. Athanasios in Kolindros, about 45 minutes southwest of Thessaloniki. Yesterday was St. Athanasios' feast day, and the monastery has a small relic from the saint, so we wanted to go there to venerate him.

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We arrived around 5:00 PM and did the Ninth Hour, Vespers, and Paraclesis to the saint with the sisters, who number 16.

Afterwards, we had a coffee with one of the sisters and some other pilgrims. Somehow, we got talking about Orthodoxy in America, and they were all fascinated to hear the stories of Americans converting to Orthodoxy.

The two photos above are of the outside entrance to the monastery. In the top photo is my friend Alexander, a Bulgarian friend of mine who also studies theology at the university, as well as Fr. Makarios, who is finishing his Masters Degree at the university.

These two photos are of the entrance into the monastery's main church. Pictured below are (l to r) Fr. Makarios, Fr. Alexios, and, of course, me.

There are a few more photos here. You can see the nearby snow-capped Mt. Olympus in one of the photos.

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