Mt Athos visit in November
Posted 19 February 2011 - 12:22 AM
While your visit is still fresh in your mind, I STRONGLY encourage you to write down every single second you can remember using all your 5 senses from Ournaoupolis until the day you returned home. You won't regret the diary later in life.
Posted 19 February 2011 - 01:26 AM
Spiritually, the experience was generally disappointing for me. I usually work evenings/nights, and rarely go to bed before 1 a.m., and quite often as late 2.30 or 3. My system simply couldn't adjust to waking up at 4 a.m. and then spending four hours in church. That was compounded on the mental level by my poor Greek and not being able to follow the services. I fear my ascesis leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, it was thrilling to be able to venerate so many wonderful relics, including the hand of John the Baptist, the skull of St John Chrysostom (complete with uncorrupt ear) and, most wonderfully, the girdle of the Theotokos. Also, the chanting at Vatopaedi was splendid, although I was unfamiliar with the Athonite style.
When I was at Athos, I took the help of sleeping pills to make me sleep, and bottled ice coffee to keep me awake. I'm not much a friend of using chemicals to influence my body, but for so few days, it was the most effective way of forcing the body to follow the spirit. You may wish to consider doing the same next time.
A couple of questions out of curiosity: you are from Cyprus, but you don't speak Greek? What is the Athonite chanting style, or at least, how is it different from other Byzantine styles?
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