Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Holy Monastery of Agiou Pavlou (St. Paul's)

If I remember correctly, it was about an hour's walk from New Skete over to Agiou Pavlou. Above you can see Thomas and me as we approach the monastery (in the background).

When we arrived at the monastery, we rested for a bit and wandered around exploring (see photos below). We were introduced to the monastery's American monk, Fr. Ignatios, whole tus some stories and history from the monastery. We had Vespers around 5:00, followed by dinner. After dinner, we went over to the bookstore and looked around. I also got to speak with the monastery's British monk, Fr. Evdokimos, the brother of Fr. John Behr, dean of St. Vladimir's. Finally, we headed back to the church for Small Compline, at which time we were blessed to venerate the relics, which included, most famously, pieces of the gifts that the magi offered to Christ when He was born.

Later, we tried to write down a list of all the relics we had venerated at all our stops, but I don't think we remembered them all. Thomas has the list, but here we venerated large relics of each of the Three Hierarchs and St. Andrew the First-Called, among many others.

In the morning, the services (concluding with the Divine Liturgy) went from 3:30 to about 8:00, after which we had a small breakfast in the trapeza.

At about 9:30, the monastery took the pilgrims on a truck down to the dock, where we waited to catch a boat up north to Grigoriou.

Above are Paris and Thomas just outside the entrance to the monastery.

Above Paris is wandering around the narthex of the main church. It looks relatively new, and still lacks icons, because of a fire that burnt down the old one about 100 years ago.

Above you can see Thomas in the foreground and the main church in the background. Behind that, you can see the high walls that fortify the monastery from the upper side.

Here you can see the main church and the covered entrance leading across to the trapeza (refectory). We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the church is actually air conditioned!

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