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The pier and the terraced gardens of Simonopetra Monastery from its balcony.

Mount Athos, Greece.

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The stairs

The bell

Simonopetra Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece

This is how it looks from the outside.
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On the boat to Mount Athos, Greece.
The three guys on the left are Russian, the three guys on the right are Greek.

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Four friends waiting to board the boat.

Mount Athos, Greece.

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This was one of my favourite spots there.


Mar. 22nd, 2016 11:14 am
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View from the balcony at Simonopetra, Mount Athos, Greece.

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In Karyes, Mount Athos, Greece.

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Agios Dionysiou Monastery, Mount Athos, Greece.

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Hiking to Osiou Gregoriou Monastery (front) and then on to Simonopetra Monastery (back), Mount Athos, Greece.

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Last December I finally managed to visit both Fruška Gora in Serbia and Mount Athos in Greece for a peek into the exotic world of Eastern Orthodox Christianity with its dark candlelit churches, seven hour long night services and monasteries shrouded in mystery. I want to write a couple of longer posts about it one day but it is unlikely to happen because I am a terrible writer and I hate to write.

Anyway, in both places I was surprised to see that they seemed to be getting overrun with recovering hipsters. I immediately remembered Jodie Anna Boychuk's awesome post from her now deleted blog in which she urged hipsters to give EOC a shot. It looked like they might have listened to her. Below is JAB's famous post. I cannot link to it because her blog was deleted from blogger.

You Should Be Orthodox

By Jodie Anna Boychuk

Hipster Christians, I’m going to help you out. I see you are grasping at something, trying to find the ironic Church of your dreams, where men can grow beards of foolish proportions and women can dress like their grannies’ grannies, a place where scarves are worn in every unfashionable fashion imaginable, a place where people do shots and eat hummus at community gatherings, enjoy rooms filled with a fog of incense and prefer to read books that pre-date industrialisation.

I would like to direct your attention to “The Orthodox Church.”

We Orthodox were Christians before it was cool. We started following the Apostles’ teachings hardcore before the Bible was even written. Actually, we read the books of the Bible before they were officially published. And not to brag or anything, but we spoke in tongues before it was “a thing.” Stuff like that.

In addition to enjoying long beards, drinking and the occasional cigarette, we are super mellow. This is called being “dispassionate” but you will simply recognize it as being extremely cool…without trying too hard. You know what I mean.

We do enjoy the ringing of Church bells, but we prefer the more organic tone that is produced from hammering a piece of wood – oh, you’ve never heard of that? Check out this track then; it’s so raw, you’ll love it.

We Orthodox don’t need to explore “vintage faith;” we invented vintage faith, but it wasn’t called vintage back then, it was just called “faith.”

Why oh Hipster Christian do you keep on seeing but do not perceive? The Orthodox Church IS the authentic Christian experience. And seriously, you would fit right in (although if you decide to attend long-term, the priest is going to ask you to stop wearing skinny jeans to liturgy – the handlebar moustache can stay, however.)

Oh, and we don’t just drink coffee after liturgy, we drink Turkish coffee. It’s pretty good.

Yes, that’s right, we say call our gatherings “liturgy” instead of “church” and sometimes we use other more obscure terms such as vespers, akathist and orthros. You should come to vespers sometime, Hipster Christian. Then you could hear “Lord I Call” in the eighth tone – oh you haven’t heard of that either….?

Really, you should be Orthodox. Because some day calling your parish a “tribe” and having Sunday meetings at a pub will be completely overdone, yet the Orthodox Church will still be operating in this world as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (2 Cor 6:9-10) I think the church you are looking for has been there all along. Ironic, isn’t it?

Agion Oros

Feb. 5th, 2016 04:04 am
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I visited the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain (Mount Athos) as a tourist in December and hiked around for 8 days. It must be one of the most unusual places in the world. The full report is coming.

Simonopetra Monastery


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