Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Monastery of All Saints, Vergina

Sunday was a busy day. After the lunch fundraiser, we headed back to Panorama to join a few people from the parish on an outing to the Monastery of All Saints near Vergina.

There, an Athonite hieromonk, Fr. Paul (whose cell I stayed at on my first trip to Mt. Athos), is helping restore a very old monastery and repopulate it with nuns. On Sunday, the Sunday of All Saints and the monastery's feast day, the bishop had come in the morning to tonsure two new nuns, bringing their total number up to 10 in just the seven years or so that they've been there. One of these new nuns' new names was rather interesting, I thought: Jerusalem. The other one was also unusual, but I can't remember it right now.

The centerpiece of the monastery, of course, is the church, which Fr. Paul, hard-working builder, has restored using the remains of the small 1750 church. Almost all the original iconography from 1750 remains, and he has simply extended the church slightly, blending in new iconography.

In the photo above, we were in the altar during Vespers when Paul's godfather, Paris, brought Paul into the altar for a few minutes. Paul is carrying a toothbrush that he likes chewing on and keeping his four teeth clean with.

Fr. Alexios and Fr. Panayiotis in the altar during Vespers. You can see the original iconography.

Paris and Paul standing outside the small side door to the altar area.

After Vespers, we went into the arhontariki for a treat, and the babies crawled around. They seemed really intrigued with the Byzantine double-headed eagle in the floor in the center of the room.

The monastery is in a very remote location with lots of green and hills, as you can see above.

Pres. Pelagia and Paul entered the church. Behind them is the iconography painted on the outside walls of the refectory, which is directly across from the church, according to Athonite style.

Here's Paul ascending the bishop's throne.

Pres. Pelagia and Paul coming out of the church.

Here's Paul crawling around at the entrance to the church. There are bay leaves everywhere that were thrown for the feast.

Fr. Panayiotis took this photo of Phoebe and me outside the refectory.

While we were there, Fr. Panayiotis and I spoke with one of the nuns about making us each a new set of vestments. This will finally be my second set.

For a few more photos from the outing, click here.

1 comment:

pelabell said...

I think the other nun that was tonsured received the name Matrona.