Ὁ Ἅγιος Νικόδημος ὁ Ἁγιορείτης γιά τίς ἀπόκριες καί τά καρναβάλια

 

PATRINO_KARNAVALI

Ποιός μπορεῖ νά διηγηθεῖ τίς ἀταξίες, πού κάνουν οἱ Χριστιανοί κατά τήν περίοδο τῶν Ἀποκρέων, καί μάλιστα στά νησιά;

Στ᾿ ἀλήθεια, θά μποροῦσε νά πεῖ κανείς, ὅτι τότε οἱ Χριστιανοί δαιμονίζονται ὅλοι, διότι χορεύουν, παίζουν, τραγουδοῦν ἀσυνείδητα, μέχρι καί αὐτοί οἱ πλέον γέροντες.

Καί, ὅποιος δέν χορέψει ἤ δέν τραγουδήσει, θεωρεῖται τρελλός, διότι οἱ ἄνδρες φοροῦν γυναικεία φορέματα καί οἱ γυναῖκες ἀνδρικά· διότι ντύνεται ὁ καθένας μέ διαφορετικά ροῦχα καί μάσκες, τίς κοινῶς ἀποκαλούμενες μουτσοῦνες· τότε δέν ἔχει διαφορά ἡ ἡμέρα ἀπό τήν νύκτα· διότι ἐπίσης μέ τήν ἡμέρα καί ὅλη ἡ νύκτα ξοδεύεται σέ χορούς καί μασκαριλίκια· τότε δέν διαφέρουν οἱ λαϊκοί ἀπό τούς κληρικούς καί τούς ἱερωμένους· διότι ὅλοι ἐξ ἴσου ἀτακτοῦν· τότε, γιά νά πῶ ἔτσι, πανηγυρίζει ἡ ἀσέλγεια· γιορτάζει ἡ ἀκολασία· εὐφραίνεται ἡ μέθη· ἀγάλλεται ἡ τρυφή καί ἡἀσωτεία· χορεύει ὁ διάβολος μέ δέκα μανδήλια καί μαζί μέ αὐτόν χορεύει ὅλο τό πλῆθος τῶν δαιμόνων· διότι τό κέρδος, πού κάνουν μόνο στίς ἀποκριές, δέν μποροῦν νά τό ἀποκτήσουν σέ ὁλόκληρο τόν χρόνο. Λυπᾶται δέ ἡ ἀρετή· στενοχωριέται ἡ σωφροσύνη· ὀδύρεται ἡ χριστιανική σεμνότητα καί ἡ εὐταξία· διώχνεται ὁ φόβος τοῦ Θεοῦ καί ὁ φόβος τῆς κολάσεως καί τῆς κρίσεως· πενθεῖ ὁ Χριστός καί θρηνοῦν ὅλοι οἱ ἄγγελοι καί οἱ δίκαιοι.

 

Ὤ, καί ποιός νά μή κλάψει; καί ποιός νά μή χύσει καρδιοστάλακτα δάκρυα, βλέποντας τήν ἀπώλεια καί τήν ἀνοησία αὐτῶν τῶν Χριστιανῶν; Αὐτοί εἶναι τόσο ἀνόητοι, πού ἀντί νά κερδίσουν ἀπό τήν νηστεία τῆς Ἁγίας Τεσσαρακοστῆς, περισσότερο ζημιώνονται ἀπό τίς ἀπόκριες, καί, γιά νά κερδίσουν ἕνα, χάνουν ἑκατό· καί κάνουν οἱ ἄθλιοι σάν τούς ἀνόητους ἐμπόρους, τρέχοντας σέ ζημία καί ὄχι σέ κέρδος· διότι ἀσύγκριτα μεγαλύτερη εἶναι ἡ βλάβη πού δέχονται κατά τίς ἀπόκριες, παρά ἡ ὠφέλεια πού λαμβάνουν ἀπό τήν Τεσσαρακοστή πού ἔρχεται· ἴλεως, ἴλεως, ἴλεως νά γίνη ὁ Θεός. Καί μακάρι αὐτός νά φωτίση τούς ἅγιους Ἀρχιερεῖς καί τούς πνευματικούς καί τούς διδασκάλους, νά ἐμποδίσουν αὐτά τά κακά μέ ἀφορισμούς καί μέ ἐπιτίμια, ὅπως ὁρίζει καί ὁ ξβ´ Κανόνας τῆς ἁγίας καί Οἰκουμενικῆς Στ´ Συνόδου:«Τάς οὕτω λεγομένας Καλάνδας, καί τά λεγόμενα Βοτά, καί τά καλούμενα Βουμάλια… κατά τί ἔθος παλαιόν καί ἀλλότριόν τοῦ τῶν Χριστιανῶν βίου, ἀποπεμπόμεθα, ὁρίζοντες μηδένα ἄνδρα γυναικείαν στολήν ἐνδιδύσκεσθαι ἤ γυναίκα τήν ἀνδράσιν ἁρμόδιον ἀλλά μήτε προσωπεῖα κωμικά ἤ σατυρικά ἤ τραγικά ὑποδύεσθαι· μήτε τό τοῦ βδελυκτοῦ Διονύσου ὄνομα τήν σταφυλήν ἐκθλίβοντος ἐν τοῖς ληνοῖς ἐπιβοᾶν…. Τούς οὖν ἀπό τοῦ νῦν τί τῶν προειρημένων ἐπιτελεῖν ἐγχειροῦντας, ἐν γνώσει τούτων καθισταμένους, τούτους, εἰ μέν κληρικοί εἶεν, καθαιρεῖσθαι προστάσσομεν, εἰ δέ λαϊκοί, ἀφορίζεσθαι».

 

(Πηγή: «Χρηστοήθεια τῶν Χριστιανῶν», Ἁγίου Νικοδήμου Ἁγιορείτου, Λόγος Β´, Μεταφραστής: Βενέδικτος Ἱερομόναχος Ἁγιορείτης, Ἐκδότης: Συνοδία Σπυρίδωνος Ἱερομονάχου Νέα Σκήτη Ἁγίου Ὄρους, Ἔτος ἔκδοσης: 2010)

Skiti Agiou Dimitriou(Φωτογραφίες από την Βατοπαιδινή Σκήτη του Αγίου Δημητρίου)

Skiti Agiou Dimitriou was until recently habited by monks (Speake in 2002) and the skete belongs to the Vatopedi monastery. Nowadays the skiti is deserted and nearly all of its 15 buildings are in ruin. According to Feigl “the skete once was the “backbone” of the Holy Mountain because of its high standard and its scientific and cultural educated monks. The Dimitrios church is so beautiful that it overclasses the Katholica of Vatopediou or Docheiariou….”.

dimitriou 1920-30

map 2Old picture from 1920-30 of the Skiti with a sketch of all 20 buildings : today the whole area is overgrown with the wild Athos vegetation.

In September 2013 I finally had the opportunity to pay a visit to this settlement. Two labourers were repearing the roof of large trapeza with expensive copper drains.

In this post I will describe a trip around the buildings of the main settlement, with the tower, the church, the trapeza and the adjacent buildings (nrs 1 – 5 on the sketch). Father Nectarios is the keeper of this church: we understood that the workmen had the key of the church: unfortunately this wasn’t the case, so we could not see the interior (which – by the way – is completely filled up with scaffoldings).

I drew a plan of these buildings (which is not 100% accurate!) :

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The path from Vatopedi to the skete ends at A, where you see this kiosk (Freatostegasma ? in Greek) with six columns, half in ruins, next to the three large cypresses (here three black spots).

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Behind the kiosk you can walk to the Exo-narthex, with its fine fresco’s, which I will show in a next blog.

We will continue to walk around the building/church towards spot B:

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In the wall you can read the year 1796. The church is build in the 12 th century and renewed in 1755. According to Feigl the oldest farmhouse of Athos is situated in this skiti, with a 1000-year old chapel! I could not find this farmhouse in situ: here are two pictures from the Feigl book.

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While standing on spot B and looking to the tower you see this:

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The trapeza of Skiti Dimitriou: the roof is almost renewed. Inside all walls are removed and the floor is broken open. No fresco’s or paintings were seen.

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A stair between building C and the tower

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The guesthouse near spot C: in a next blog I will show you the interior.

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This small hut (Akathist Hymn – nr 7) lies opposite of building C

The other buildings in de neighbourhood were totally in ruin:

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Wim, 29/12 (athos weblog proudly presents this first detailed publication about the skete [with pictures of Jitze Bakker], next time more about the fresco’s in the exo-nartex).

Skiti Agiou Dimitriou: frescoes from the exonarthex

As told in the first post about this forgotten skete (1493) we could not enter the katholicon, because the workmen were not in possesion of the key. It gave me the opportunity to take some pictures in the exo-narthex.

plan google mapskopie2

On this map the exo-narthex can found at B – the katholikon with the two domes – under the lesser dome. It is attached to building C, the guesthouse. The frescoes are of high quality, not refined, but painted by an artist who did not need many paint or brushstrokes to express himself. The overall condition of the frescoes is very poor. It looks like the frescoes in the church will be restored in the near future, because the whole church is filled up by scaffoldings.

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The first fresco I photographed is a scene with a Crusified Monk, with a soldier giving him a sponge with water. Death is coming from the grave and angels and demons surround the cross.

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A badly damaged detail of the the fresco of winged devils, one of them with a bow, fall in the mouth of a monster (with Mount Athos in the background?).

DSCN2102-1 deathA detail of Thanatos – Death with his siskin. Like most frightfull figures on Athos-fresco’s, the body and head (especially the eyes) are badly damaged by pilgrims.

The next fresco in the first dome depitcs scenes from the life of Saint Anthony.

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Saint Anthony lived in the desert and was tempted by many creatures: one of the temptations is done by the Satyr and the Centaur. Wikipedia says: “, St. Antony was stopped by these demons and he asked them, “Who are you?” To that the satyr replied, “I am a corpse, one of those whom the heathen call satyrs, and by whom they are snared into idolatry.” The satyr then tried to terrify the saint while the centaur acknowledged the overthrow of the gods. In the end, the centaur tried to show Saint Anthony the way to his destination while the satyr ended up asking for Saint Anthony’s blessing.”

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The Satyr

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The lion/beast

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The Centaur

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Here is St. Anthony is a cave. Wikipedia says about this temptation: “One time Saint Anthony tried hiding in a cave to escape the demons that plagued him. There were so many little demons in the cave though that Saint Anthony’s servant had to carry him out because they had beaten him to death. When the hermits were gathered to Saint Anthony’s corpse to mourn his death, Saint Anthony was revived. He demanded that his servants take him back to that cave where the demons had beaten him. When he got there he called out to the demons, and they came back as wild beasts to rip him to shreds. All of a sudden a bright light flashed, and the demons ran away. Saint Anthony knew that the light must have come from God.”

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To finish this blog I’ll show you another scene of the live of Anthony, I think it must be the story about the temptation with a plate with silver coins, that the devil must have laid out in the desert to tempt him.

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DSCN2106-1 crocodileIn the arch you can see a Saint (again Anthony?) sitting on an crocodile-like animal.

frescoes from the exonarthex – 2

Today I will show you the remaining scenes from the lithi/exonarthex of Skiti Dimitriou. The images are rare and not shown before in any book I know or on the internet. Most of the pictures here concern the life of St. Antony and St. Paul . The frescoes date from 1806 .

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“In the evening, the raven came bringing a whole loaf of bread. St. Paul said to St. Antony, “Now, I know that you are one of the children of God. For 70 years, the Lord has been sending to me everyday, half a loaf of bread, but today, the Lord is sending your food also. Now, go and bring me back in a hurry the tunic that Emperor Constantine had given to Pope Athanasius.”

This scene is from Saint EuDSCN2105 (Large)

DSCN2107 (Large)The Heavenly Ladder of St John Klimakos Constantinople

DSCN2109 (Large)Agios Agapios (left), Ag. Simon (centre) and Agios Nikodimos (right)

DSCN2110 (Large)Agios Makarios, Agios Nymphon ? Agios Joasaph

DSCN2111 (Large)Agios DimitriouDSCN2112 (Large)Christ in heaven looking at children and a cripled man receiving bread

DSCN2113 (Large)Men drinking wine and quench their thirst

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DSCN2115 (Large)Prisoners being released by?

DSCN2116 (Large)Badly damaged fresco: a room (church?) with an angel, two kneeling figures an two men reading from books. Notice the two icons in the background.

DSCN2117 (Large)Agios Gennadios

DSCN2119 (Large)Agios Antonios and Paulos

DSCN2120 (Large)Demons face the Holy Men

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DSCN2122 (Large)Agia Trias

Today we will take a closer look at the largest building C, probably the guesthouse.

plan google mapskopie2

DSCN2149 (Large)This picture shows you the entrance to building C: the stone stairway leads to the front door. From there an wooden stair goes up to the tower.

DSCN2147 (Large)After you enter, you see a long hall, flanked by 2x 3 rooms, with a the end of the hall this bench. A disturbed bat flew away!

DSCN2138 (Large)In the first room on my left hand I found this fireplace or oven and two tables.

DSCN2139 (Large)The first room on the right with again a fireplace and a lot of – religious – objects.

DSCN2141 (Large)Worn and rusted objects – a pilow, candles, an oil can, a cup and a icon on the table,

DSCN2140 (Large)Two icons, one of them totally faded, and one old and dusty icon of the Panaghia (her tranfiguration?)

DSCN2142 (Large)Two lantarns near the window

DSCN2144 (Large)In the middle room on the right an old tiled floor

DSCN2145 (Large)The third rooms on the left: an old suitcase and beds

DSCN2146 (Large)Sign on this rooms shows the text: Κύριε Ίσου Χρήστη Ελέησον Με – Kyrie Jesou Christi Eleizon Me My (“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”)

DSCN2148 (Large)A large copper bowl in the hallway

After leaving the skiti Dimitriou we first passed some ruined houses (nrs 19, 20 24,25 on this drawing).

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path from DimitrioukopieIn one of these houses near the red X above we took a closer look:

DSCN2157 (Large)Ruined house of skiti Dimitriou

DSCN2155 (Large)Inside: a ruined interior of a church, with floors fallen down

DSCN2154 (Large)The other side of the interior

DSCN2156 (Large)The ground floor: oil jars. One of them was still filled with oil!

DSCN2153 (Large)The earthenware pot in the corner was still filled with oil

DSCN2159 (Large)We continued to walk further, leaving the compound of the skiti and soon the monopati became difficult to walk…

Zwerger Dimitriou - Bogoroditsa

Athos Agio Oros

Where the hermits live (Που ζούν οι ερημίτες;)

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In less than five kilometers distance from sea level Mount Athos rises to its top at 2026 meters. So it’s incredibly steep. The gradient is on the average an amazing 40°. Because of this the southern end of the peninsula only has footpaths and mules to carry people and goods from one place to another.  That makes it an ideal place for a retreat. The boat from Dafni to the end of the peninsula follows the coast and calls at every monastery and skiti.  After Karoulia the ferry takes a sharp starboard turn around the south western corner of Athos. This Land’s End is signposted with a steel cross.  In the distance the tourist boat (despite its masts it is not a sailing ship.) that gives tourists – and woman – from a safe distance not even a glimpse of the Athonite life.

Just after the edge the real steep part begins. Here the mountain ends almost vertically in the Aegean Sea

A monk and a layman fishing in a modern motorized boat with a dramatic back drop. Despite the steepness the monks succeeded in building a house here. From the sea no path is visible. Sometimes there are only ropes and ladders. On the balcony there hangs a bell. So the hermit can give a sign if he has a special need.

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A monk and a layman fishing in a modern motorized boat with a dramatic back drop. Despite the steepness the monks succeeded in building a house here. From the sea no path is visible. Sometimes there are only ropes and ladders. On the balcony there hangs a bell. So the hermit can give a sign if he has a special need. 3

Here we see three homes at almost vertical cliffs. They are intended for monks who want to retire form the outer world in order to focus only on prayer. Here live the true ascetics. But we can see that even the life of a hermit has changed. He no longer lives in just a bare cave, as Athanasious. The retreat is now a shed, a cottage of even a home. It must have taken an amazing effort to build such a house. Think of all the building materials and gear that had to be brought up and had to be carried by hand. The bottom two houses have huge walls of at least five feet below him. Another change is the modern comfort .The middle house has got a chimney. There are wires going to the cottages. Electricity perhaps, or telephone lines. The upper house looks like it was slammed against the mountain and has a surprising amount of depth. There is a terrace that does not look uncomfortable. There is a grape. Under the house a drain is visible. A house broker would boast about the unspoiled view over the Aegean Sea. And they would mention the silence, the absolute tranquility of the place. Twice a day the boat from Dafni sails along. Tourist boats remain at a respectful distance. There is plenty time for meditation and prayer.

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The stability of this building, or at least its terrace, is questionable. There are beams of sunlight coming through. So there must be planks missing.  If a hermit would fall he would land in the Mediterranean. Here is sign of modernity: there is a solar panel on the flat roof.

 

Some monks get their supplies via a cable car. If the supplies are not taken, someone will have a look. And if the monk is deceased, there will be a new hermit living there in due time. That is the great continuity of Athonian life for over more than a thousand years.

 

Bas Kamps

 

Pictures taken on the 23st of September 2013.

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Η Κωνσταντινούπολη πίσω απ’ το Ταξίμ και τα δακρυγόνα

Istanbul, CPapadoukas
Mαρία Καρχιλάκη
Από τον περασμένο Μάη η Κωνσταντινούπολη συγκλονίζεται από λογής-λογής βίαια επεισόδια. Τα τελευταία, στις αρχές του μήνα, προκάλεσε ο νόμος για τον έλεγχο του διαδικτύου. Τα πρώτα, στα τέλη της άνοιξης, είχαν προκαλέσει τα σχέδια της κυβέρνησης να χτίσει ένα εμπορικό κέντρο σ’ ένα μικρό πάρκο πίσω από την εμβληματική πλατεία Ταξίμ. Στα ενδιάμεσα, οι εφημερίδες, τούρκικες και ξένες, βαρέθηκαν να γράφουν για σκάνδαλα διαφθοράς στο κυβερνών κόμμα αλλά και για τις μεταθέσεις-τιμωρία των ανακριτών και των εισαγγελέων που έκαναν τις έρευνες.
8-days 8-days-ii entry exit iznik iznik-ii

Η Τουρκία βράζει, κοντολογίς. Κι αυτό που κυρίως φταίει είναι η κλιμακούμενη αυταρχικότητα του Ερντογάν. Σημάδι ότι θα κάνει πίσω -δεν υπάρχει. Ούτε πως θα πάψουν να μονοπωλούν την ειδησεογραφία αστάθεια, πολιτικές εντάσεις, αντιδράσεις, οδομαχίες, ξύλο, συλλήψεις και δακρυγόνα στο Ταξίμ και την Ιστικλάλ…

Μόνο που σήμερα δεν θα σου πω γι αυτές τις αγριάδες. Αν θες, δες εδώ τι είχα γράψει παλιότερα γι αυτές. Σήμερα θα σου μιλήσω για ένα παράδοξο που το ‘χω συναντήσει σ’ όλες τις πόλεις που βράζουν. Ακόμη και σ’ εκείνες που κοχλάζουν∙ που βρίσκονται υπό πολιορκία, που ζουν έναν πόλεμο. Πίσω απ’ την άγρια πλευρά τους, λοιπόν, πίσω απ’ το κομμάτι τους που ωρύεται και βρυχάται υπάρχει πάντα ένα άλλο, το ίδιο μικρό ή μεγάλο, ου μην αλλά βουβό κι ατάραχο.

Αυτό ακριβώς, αυτή, δηλαδή, την εκκωφαντική σιωπή πίσω από την αντάρα και την αναμπουμπούλα, είδα -και μ’ άρεσε πολύ- να ‘χει αποτυπώσει στις φωτογραφίες του ο γλύπτης Κωνσταντίνος Παπαδούκας που έτυχε να βρεθεί στην Πόλη τις μέρες του τελευταίου κακού χαμού. Στη συλλογή των φωτογραφιών του έδωσε το όνομα “Iznik, σκόνη και νερό, μια συλλογή φωτογραφιών σε διάλογο ανά δύο”. Τα Ιζνίκ, όπως πιθανότατα ξέρεις, είναι αυτά τα ιδιαίτερα πορσελάνινα πλακάκια, κυρίως σε μπλε και με συγκεκριμένους συμβολισμούς μοτίβα, που ξεκίνησαν να φτιάχνονται το 15ο αιώνα στην πόλη Ιζνίκ, δηλαδή τη Νίκαια της Βιθυνίας. Τα χρησιμοποιούσαν για να επενδύουν τους τοίχους.

Αν δεν ήξερα πόσο φορτισμένο ήταν το κλίμα δεν θα αντιλαμβανόμουν, τουλάχιστον στο κομμάτι της Πόλης που κινήθηκα, την ένταση. Ο κόσμος, ως επί το πλείστον, προσπαθεί να επιβιώσει και ζει την κάθε του στιγμή όπως, μάλλον, έχει μάθει: μαζεύοντας σκουπίδια, καίγοντας πλαστικά και κατεστραμμένα έπιπλα, κατακλύζοντας τα τζαμιά. Αστυνομία και στρατός είναι ορατοί αλλά πάλι αόρατοι.

Ανατολή – Δύση, οι εναλλαγές συνεχείς και τρανταχτές. Γυναίκες με μαντήλες δίπλα σε έφηβες που βγάζουν selfies. Άντρες στο τζαμί, βιβλίο προσευχών στα πόδια και παιχνίδι στο iphone. Καταστήματα που δέχονται ευρώ αλλά δεν γνωρίζουν ούτε λέξη στ’ Αγγλικά.

Νομίζω ότι η Αγία Σοφία είναι μία σύνοψη της εικόνας της Πόλης, γεμάτη αντιθέσεις, αρχιτεκτονικά, θρησκευτικά, χρονικά. Απ’ την άλλη, οι γωνιές του Ελληνισμού υπάρχουν, είναι όμως σαν ξεθωριασμένες αναμνήσεις, πίσω από συρματοπλέγματα, κάμερες παρακολούθησης και γεμάτα από εγκατάλειψη sokak.

Έβγαλα γύρω στις 300 φωτογραφίες. Χωρίζονται στη μέση. Ανατολή – Δύση, ησυχία – βαβούρα, ρομαντισμός – πραγματικότητα. ΄Ο,τι ακριβώς είναι η Πόλη. Mια αντίθεση. Μια πόλη φιλική αλλά κι εχθρική την ίδια στιγμή, μια πόλη θορυβώδης αλλά και ήσυχη παράλληλα, απλή μα και υπερβολική. Και κάπως έτσι προέκυψε αυτός ο διάλογος…