Sunday, February 20, 2011

Philotheou and Karakalou

On Tuesday morning, we left Simonopetra by van and returned to Dafni, from which we got a taxi van, with two Greeks, to Philotheou, the spiritual home of Elder Ephraim and his many spiritual children in North America. Above, Fr. Joseph is admiring the outside of the monastery as we arrive.

Above, the view of the katholikon (main church) from inside the arhontariki (the guest quarters), where we were welcomed and treated to the traditional Athonite loukoumi (Turkish delight) and tsipouro (a hard alcohol).

A view of the main church from inside the courtyard. We met an American monk, Fr. Prokopios, who has been there for 5 years. Before that, he spent 6 years at St. Anthony's Monastery in Arizona. Many of our group remembered him from that time, so they were quite happy to see a familiar American face in such a remote location.

We were able to see some of the monastery and venerate the famous wonderworking icon of the Panagia Glykophilousa inside the main church before setting off for our destination for the night, neighboring Karakalou.

The walk took about 45 minutes. Above, Fr. Joseph takes a look at the monastery as it comes into view.

One of the many, typical fountains on the Holy Mountain.

Here we are signing the guest book, another Athonite tradition.

At Karakalou, I was able to visit the grave of our reposed friend, Fr. Barnabas, an American hieromonk of Karakalou, and read a Trisagion prayer for him.

Then we had Vespers and a meal, followed by Small Compline and veneration of some of the monastery's relics, including a piece of the Cross and relics of St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Theodore the General, St. Haralambos, St. Efstathios, and the skull of St. Bartholomew the Apostle.

In the morning, we celebrated Orthros and Divine Liturgy with the monks from about 2:00-6:00, had something to eat, and then we're off at 8:00.

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