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Visit to Mount Athos


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#41 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 01:40 PM

I am starting to save money to make a trip to the Holy Mountain, I want to go during the cheapest part of the year. How much money does it take to pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain?

In Christ
Nektarios


Head for Thessaloniki first. From there you get a bus that takes you to Ouranopolis. Then by boat to Daphni and Karyes where you get your papers. Both times that I visited the Holy Mt and we were leaving from N America we flew first to Athens, then a local flight up to Thessaloniki. Maybe though nowadays you can get more direct flights to Thessaloniki?

But for the adventurous- the first time I went to the Holy Mt, I flew to Paris from Montreal; and then train from Paris to Thessaloniki. This was an amazing journey through France, Italy and all of the Yugoslavia of that time. One thing this did for me since I had never been outside of N America before is it helped me adjust to Europe and especially south eastern Europe (the Balkans) before I got to Greece.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#42 David R.

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 07:41 PM

There is NO fee for anything once on the Mountain unless you want to buy souvenirs.


Paul,

Do all of the monasteries sell souvenirs? Other than icons, what do they sell?

Thanks!

#43 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:13 PM

Head for Thessaloniki first. From there you get a bus that takes you to Ouranopolis. Then by boat to Daphni and Karyes where you get your papers. Both times that I visited the Holy Mt and we were leaving from N America we flew first to Athens, then a local flight up to Thessaloniki. Maybe though nowadays you can get more direct flights to Thessaloniki?

But for the adventurous- the first time I went to the Holy Mt, I flew to Paris from Montreal; and then train from Paris to Thessaloniki. This was an amazing journey through France, Italy and all of the Yugoslavia of that time. One thing this did for me since I had never been outside of N America before is it helped me adjust to Europe and especially south eastern Europe (the Balkans) before I got to Greece.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

PS: also take on Paul's advice. He's been there a lot more recently than I have.

#44 Matthew

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 09:29 PM

But for the adventurous- the first time I went to the Holy Mt, I flew to Paris from Montreal; and then train from Paris to Thessaloniki. This was an amazing journey through France, Italy and all of the Yugoslavia of that time. One thing this did for me since I had never been outside of N America before is it helped me adjust to Europe and especially south eastern Europe (the Balkans) before I got to Greece.


That sounds like the proper way to do it!

I am starting to save money to make a trip to the Holy Mountain, I want to go during the cheapest part of the year. How much money does it take to pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain?


The biggest expense, by far, is getting from the USA to Athens. From there you can take an inexpensive flight on Aegean Air to Thessoloniki; check en.aegeanair.com for prices. You then need to get a bus from Thessoliniki to Ouranopolis, and follow what Fr Raphael described above about getting on a boat and finding Karyes to get your papers.

Also, don't forget to look for and visit a local monastery you might already have surprisingly close to you!

#45 Paul Cowan

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 04:00 AM

Paul,

Do all of the monasteries sell souvenirs? Other than icons, what do they sell?

Thanks!


No, or at least not that I saw. I don't speak Greek or anything other than hillbilly so I could not talk to too many people. I had time for services and walking and that was about it. The only 2 I went to that did have items for sale was Iveron and St. Panteleimon. Both had VERY nice items for sale and I could have spent my annual salary in either of their bookstores.

Daphne and Karyes also have items for sale, but to me these were rather on the "cheap" (if I can get away with that) side of what I saw in the other places. Of course Ournapoulis was the typical tourist trap.

Icons were everywhere, as well as prayer ropes, wine, wood art, monastic garb, wine, candles, trinkets of all kinds, wine, books and papers, parchments, wine, jewelry, wine. I really recommend you buy some wine. I bought my wife a very nice (old looking) silver 3 bar cross on a necklace. I bought my mom a piece of wood cut on a slant with a hole in its side. It can't stand alone, but if you stick a wine bottle in the hole, it stands like magic. I bought my priests a bottle of wine each.

I figured how much it would have cost if they charged for food and bed and spent about that much in alms and buying "stuff".

Paul

#46 Niko T.

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 12:06 PM

I did remember hearing that there is no way to get more money once you are on Mount Athos (there is an ATM in Karyes, but it is often broken), so I would recommend bringing more that you think you will need, just in case you feel extra generous, or in case you need to take a couple of extra boat or minibus trips (the latter of which can be very expensive, depending on how many people you split them with)...

#47 Vasilian

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 12:15 PM

But attention Fr. Raphael and others, the papers you will get at Ouranoupolis (not at Karies)! See for detailed information: http://athos.web-log....out-athos.html and http://thessaloniki.....Visiting-Athos full of usefull information.
Vasílis

#48 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 12:31 AM

But even before you get to Ouranoupolis you have to reserve your place at "The Office" in Thessaloniki. Then only can you go to Ouranoupolis to get your papers.

#49 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:02 AM

As Paul says I got my paper at the church office in Thessaloniki to visit the Holy Mt. That's where the cleric looked through a big book to check that the church I was with was canonical. Then you got on the bus and went to Ouranopolis. Then in Ouranopolis you caught the boat to Daphne. Then you got the bus up to Karyes where they gave you a paper granting permission to remain on the Holy Mt for a certain period of time.

At least this is what they did in 1991.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#50 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:11 AM

The Holy Mountain is timeless Fr.

Not much changes except for the addition of roads and too many taxis! Oh yeah and the disguised Byzantine style building housing the cell phone tower. I was flabergasted why ANYONE would bring their cell phone to the mountian. It's not as if they would not be back in the world in 4 days. Sheesh.

Paul

#51 Christina M.

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:19 AM

Here's something I've always wondered about:
How does someone decide which monasteries he is going to visit on the Holy Mountain? Do you draw straws? Do others decide? How is it done?

#52 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:22 AM

And it's probably the same monk processing things in the church office in Thessaloniki!

Talking of taxis. When we went to Mt Athos the second time in 1991 I had it in my mind that you just fly to Athens and hop on the shuttle to Thessaloniki. We arrived well jet lagged after the flight JFK-Rome- Athens. Getting to the domestic airport the lady at the ticket desk nicely asked; 'do you have a reservation sir?' Hm. One flight passes waiting on standby, then another... Finally a very nice Greek fellow (really a guardian angel) who had been living in England for a few years overheard our predicament and suggested a taxi to Thessaloniki. We accepted the offer and after negotiating the price left about an hour later. This was definitely the fastest taxi ride I have had in my life. Screaming over the mountains (Mt Olympos?) we literally had our eyes covered from fear. The funny thing was that we got to Thessaloniki only about an hour later than if we had flown.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#53 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:31 AM

LOl,

Yes, Fr. I was holding on for dear life in Thessaloniki from the airport to the bus station (I was an hour late for the last bus) to the hotel and then back again the next morning. These guys were not at all concerned about speed limits.

But the taxis I was refering to were the ones ON the Mountain. It seems if any pilgrim wanted to go from one monastery to another, they just paid the price for the fare. Only those that walk can really appreciate what the Mountain has to offer.

Christina: Straws? perhaps, but I had an agenda when I went. I wanted to see the Iveron icon of the Mother of God, The largest piece of the Holy Life Giving Cross in the world and go to the top of the Mountain. I was able to do the first two, but what She wanted me to do was spend time at St. Panteleimon's. Her plan was better!!!!

Paul

#54 Christina M.

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:36 AM

Christina: Straws? perhaps, but I had an agenda when I went. I wanted to see the Iveron icon of the Mother of God, The largest piece of the Holy Life Giving Cross in the world and go to the top of the Mountain. I was able to do the first two, but what She wanted me to do was spend time at St. Panteleimon's. Her plan was better!!!!


I didn't know that anybody could just decide to go to the summit. Do you need a special invitation? Isn't there a chance that there's ascetics living up there, and you might disturb them? Isn't it very dangerous to try to climb so high?
(Sorry... I'm a little inquisitive. :-) )

#55 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 02:49 AM

If there is a warning not to go then one should not. There was when I was there, but I also met people that ignored the warning and went anyway. There are ascetics on the Mountain. They are going to be disturbed. Or else they live in such places that pilgrims will not want to travel.

It's only a mile high. You can see some photos in my album, but I wish I could share more of them. Have you seen Google earth? You can "see" a whole lot more on that site.

Paul

#56 Christina M.

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 03:07 AM

Thank you, Paul. I very much enjoyed seeing the photos in your album. It looks like an earthly paradise over there! It's also amazing how ancient the buildings look.
Now I wanna go too! Maybe I can pass for a eunuch... :)

If someone wanted to view Mt Athos from Google Earth, would they have to know exactly where it is on a map, or is there some easier shortcut trick?

#57 Nina

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 05:18 AM

. This was definitely the fastest taxi ride I have had in my life. Screaming over the mountains (Mt Olympos?) we literally had our eyes covered from fear.

In Christ- Fr Raphael


Ha ha ha I am guilty of driving very fast once from Athens to Thessaloniki. It felt so good - it was Monday and roads were empty. And it was for a good cause. But all over southern Europe people drive that way. I do not know why. Taxi drivers there are very skilled too.

#58 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 05:39 AM

If someone wanted to view Mt Athos from Google Earth, would they have to know exactly where it is on a map[...]?


well, yeah...

#59 Reader Nektarios

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 05:50 AM

How long can you stay on the Holy Mountain. I have the whole month of December off, I want to stay more then a few days. Whats the longest allowed?

In Christ
Nektarios

#60 Vasilian

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 07:42 AM

Before you take the boat to Dafni, you have to buy the diamonitirion in Ouranoupolis (30 Euro). Otherwise it is impossible to enter the boat. After that you are free to go, in every arsanas you like.

If you want to know things about the top (incl. Google Earth), see: http://athos.web-log..._/the_mountain/ . You don't need special permission to go to the top. But be careful, it is not 'only a mile high'. The top is at 2033 m and it is a pretty tough climb. I made it myself last year. It last 5-7 hours and about the same back. There is a small chapel on the top. No ascetics are living there, it is covered with snow in winter. At 1500 m is the Chapel of Panagia. You may stay there overnight if you like, but no one is living there, no water no food. See the pictures.

Nektarios: You may stay three nights, so leaving on the fourth day. You may ask for extension of your stay in person in Karies.

Vasílis




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