President Vladimir Putin has arrived at Panteleimonos Monastery, the ‘Russian Monastery’ on Mount Athos with Russian monks only.
The monastery, funded by the Czars, reached its zenith at the end of the 19th century with over 1,000 monks.
After Communism, the monastery declined. The monastery has been recently renovated with funds from Putin’s government.
But while the spotlight is on Athos, let’s not forget the beautiful Russian monastery complex of Valaam, the so called Athos of the North.
Here in Greece, I have had the opportunity to meet Russian novices and visitors to monasteries. One of them told me she went to visit Valaam regularly. She said it was a stunning place but life there was very hard. Monks are expected to work long, long hours…