Athos reopens for pilgrims

According to an announcement on Tuesday, the world famous monastic republic of Mount Athos is reopening to pilgrims and visitors after months of isolation.

The ban on visiting the Sacred Community, introduced in March 2020, has largely contributed to the creation of a good epidemiological image of Mount Athos. General traffic bans in Greece limited, on the one hand, movement to Athos, and on the other, the entry of visitors. The opening of Mount Athos to pilgrims last summer also did not have serious negative consequences, as weather conditions did not contribute to the spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has political jurisdiction over the self-governing territory of the monastic republic, said visitors would only be admitted on strict conditions.

These include: checking at the port of entry into the monastery community, limiting the number of visitors and guests per day, and banning pilgrims from moving between monasteries without proper permission.

Like us previously reported during the pandemic on Athos, dozens of monks and novices fell ill, at least 9 people died.

The ban on visiting the Sacred Community, introduced in March 2020, has largely contributed to the creation of a good epidemiological image of Mount Athos. General traffic bans in Greece limited, on the one hand, movement to Athos, and on the other, the entry of visitors. The opening of Mount Athos to pilgrims last summer also did not have serious negative consequences, as weather conditions did not contribute to the spread of the virus.

With the exception of three cases of coronavirus in the monastery of Xenophon brought from outside the borders of the Athos Republic, there were practically no other cases of illness until September 2020.

But in the fall on Athos, everything began to change. The first to die was the 44-year-old monk Nikiforos, from the diocese of Ierissos and Arnea, who became infected during a pilgrimage to Mount Athos. Behind him, a deadly virus took the life of hieromonk Panaretos from the monastery of St. Gregory, who was called one of the best readers of Holy Mount Athos.

After that, several more elderly people died in the monasteries. The situation has deteriorated sharply since March. The Skete of St. Anne, the New Skete and the Skete of Caries were the first to suffer.

In the Cell of the Annunciation (Ευαγγελισμού) in Caries, the Monk Meletios of Crete, who already had many health problems, died of the virus. Hieromonk Elder Eftimy from the Iversky Skete also died of the coronavirus. In Agia Anna, the famous father of Chrysanthos Agiannanitis was among the victims of the pandemic.

Mount Athos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a famous pilgrimage site and a popular religious tourism destination where women are strictly prohibited.

With the exception of three cases of coronavirus in the Xenophon monastery, brought from outside the borders of the Athos Republic, there were practically no other cases of illness until September 2020.

But in the fall on Athos, everything began to change. The first to die was the 44-year-old monk Nikiforos, from the diocese of Ierissos and Arnea, who became infected during a pilgrimage to Mount Athos. Behind him, a deadly virus took the life of hieromonk Panaretos from the monastery of St. Gregory, who was called one of the best readers of Holy Mount Athos.

After that, several more elderly people died in the monasteries. The situation has deteriorated sharply since March. The Skete of St. Anne, the New Skete and the Skete of Caries were the first to suffer.

In the Cell of the Annunciation (Ευαγγελισμού) in Caries, the Monk Meletios of Crete, who already had many health problems, died of the virus. Hieromonk Elder Eftimy from the Iversky Skete also died of the coronavirus. In Agia Anna, the famous father of Chrysanthos Agiannanitis was among the victims of the pandemic.





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