Monday, September 26, 2011


At Dionysiou, we drank lots, and lots, and lots of water and sat on a balcony with a great view over the ocean as we recovered from our walk.

A view of Dionyiou's port area from the balcony.

After we recovered, Fr. Pavlos took us inside the main church and even brought out a few of the monastery's amazing collection of relics to venerate, including the right hand of St. John the Baptist.

We then wandered around a bit and soon found ourselves talking with an old monk, Fr. Vasileios. When I asked him how long he'd been at the monastery, he said he had just come yesterday -- in 1965. He then regaled us with stories about his encounters with Elder Paisios, Elder Sophrony, and Elder Porphyrios, whom he personally knew to have been given the gift of foresight from the age of 18. He was also a monk of Dionysiou under the abbacy of Elder Haralambos, about whom a book has been translated into English (with a green cover). He led us to his grave so that we could venerate it and he told us he thought the Elder was a saint. He then showed us the monastery's ossuary, where they keep the monks' bones (see above and below).

The skulls are kept in a separate place from the rest of the bones.

Here is where the newly reposed lie. Elder Haralambos' grave is here.

Fr. Vasileios and I.

Our destination was New Skete, which is about 1.5 hours away from Dionysiou. We were too tired from our walks in the morning, so we walked down to the port and caught the boat over to New Skete.


Larry Edwards said...

There is scaffolding at several of the sites. Can you give us some idea of the construction that is taking place, how contractors get to and from the Mountain to do this work, and how it is funded?

Larry Edwards said...

There is extensive scaffolding at several of the sites shown in your blog recently. Can you give us some idea of what is underway, how workers get to and from the Mountain to do this work, funding for it, etc?

Fr. Gregory said...

There are whole sections of many of the monasteries that are uninhabitable due to old age, disrepair, etc. The scaffolding is for long-term projects on these areas. Workers and equipment generally come and go by boat, although technically there is a land route which they may be able to use in special circumstances. Some of the funding is from places like the EU and some is from the monasteries themselves, some of which have income from centuries-old land holdings.